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In the past 100 years, stainless steel has played an important role in many industries, from nuclear energy and healthcare to several everyday household appliances. Currently, companies that make prototypes are trying 3d printing for stainless steel to increase the potential of this metal. 3D printing is a technique of producing three-dimensional hard materials such as stainless steel by using a digital model that prints a final product by using a printer having this specialized digital technology.
Things to Know Before 3d Printing of Stainless Steel
Widely used by companies that make prototypes, steel is an affordable and sturdy metal that is well suited for consumer products, regardless of size and industrial look and feel. It offers a low-cost metal printed form that is ideal for large objects because of its special physical strength. Just like aluminum and titanium, the stainless steel can also be utilized as a metal 3d printing material for complex designs, which is currently not possible with conventional manufacturing methods.
In order to produce stainless steel in a conventional manner, conventional materials that combine iron and carbon are melted and eventually combined with chromium and molybdenum elements to prevent rust and corrosion of the final product. The molten material is then treated through a series of cooling, reheating and rolling steps to provide the final microstructure of the stainless steel, thereby achieving high strength properties through closely packed thin boundary alloy grains.
And the main method used in 3d printing of stainless steel is to bond the stainless steel powder layers together with a binder. In this process, the stainless steel powder layer is placed in an assembly box, and the print head is allowed to move in the cartridge to eject the binder solution. The layer deposited with the binder is then dried with a heat lamp. After this, a new powder layer is a repetition of the spread and process. Once the final goal is complete, then dry it in an oven to fully cure the adhesive.
Alternative 3d Printing Process of Stainless Steel Used by Companies that Make Prototypes
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective laser sintering involves selective sintering, more easily understood as heating and melting, a powdered material that allows the layer of stainless steel to be laid. The particles of stainless steel are then fused together using a laser.
Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
Selective laser melting in 3d printing of stainless steel uses metal powder to make functional three-dimensional parts. The thin layer of metal powder is laid down and then fused together using a Helium–neon laser. Once the part is complete, it is taken off the bed and then any finishing expected for the given object.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Direct Metal Laser Sintering uses a laser source to bind the powder material to the metal powder.
Laser Powder-Bed Fusion
A recent study on 3d printing of stainless steel carried out by world famous companies that make prototypes used a method called laser powder bed fusion to produce 3D printed stainless materials which would remain compact when finished. In this way, the researchers combined a series of lasers using a rapid cooling process to fuse metal alloy particles all together. In addition, the researchers programed a computer-controlled procedure that allows users to create tightly packed layers of stainless steel by operating the material's structure at the nanoscale. Using both methods, the researchers found that the resulting stainless steel products showed far fewer fractures than the more common 3D printing techniques. Read more >>> Laser Cutting Used by Prototype Suppliers on Metal Print Mockup
3D Printing of Stainless Steel: What are the Applications?
Like traditional stainless steel, 3D printed stainless steel is used in many applications, which include:
• Dental caps
• Construction applications
• Metal implants
• Decorative models like statues, medals and keys
• Industrial applications – designing functional components
• Manufacturing automotive parts
• Military applications
Advantages of 3d Printing of Stainless Steel
3D printing of stainless steel has brought many advantages. The prototype made is easy to maintain because they attracts little dirt and the presence of other metals such as bronze and chrome give them the added benefit of never rusting. More benefits include:
• Heat resistant temperature up to 831 ° C
• Light in weight
• Complex design/ Wired Geometries/ Fixed Mechanisms
• Speed, shortening assembly time
• Produced in shorter time
• Mass Customization
• Remote Production
• Topology Optimization / Reduction
• Small-Volume Production
Frequently Asked Questions about 3d Printing of Stainless Steel
What color and surface treatment can 3d printing of stainless stain achieve?
Scrub: A matte and rough surface that has not been polished.
Polishing: This is a polished sheen and has a smooth look and feel.
* Results may vary depending on geometry and model details.
Bronze-Silver: metallic silver with a bronze hue
Gold: 24K gold-plated thin layer that will be worn
Nickel: A thin layer of a nickel-plated layer that gives a silver-gray sheen that darkens over time
Bronze: This surface treatment gives the material a bronzed appearance
Black: Black finish gives the material a dark gray to black look
3d printing of stainless steel provides companies that make prototypes with a reliable and fast production method. Though the expense of a functional 3D metal printer is relatively high, there are currently several inexpensive 3D printers on the market. Compared to other manufacturing technologies, 3D printing technology is accurate, inexpensive, and more realistic technology, so more and more manufacturing companies are now choosing 3D printing for stainless steel.