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Michael Oullette


Three New Metal Powders for Additive Manufacturing

Copper, titanium, and 304L stainless-steel powders from Desktop Metal have qualified for production

Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 12:00

(Desktop Metal: Burlington, MA) -- Desktop Metal has announced three new metals for use in its binder jet 3D printers, partnering with three separate organizations to test and verify the results.

Copper alloy C18150 was developed and provided by Sandvik Osprey, a unit of Sandvik Additive Manufacturing and tested by a top-five global automotive manufacturer. It’s rated for use on two single-pass jetting (SPJ) models—the P-1 for research and development of binder jetting projects for serial production; and the P-50, a production metal binder jet system.

Sandvik says its C18150 powder routinely delivered as-sintered densities of 98–99 percent when printed on the P-1, allowing for unique part design targeted for high-volume production. Chromium zirconium copper has strength, conductivity, and corrosion resistance, and withstands service temperatures up to 500˚C.

Desktop Metal worked with Detroit-based automotive supplier TriTech Titanium Parts to qualify Ti64 alloy for binder jet 3D printing.

Ti64 is a popular material that is inherently difficult to work with using traditional machining or metal injection-molding processes. Additive manufacturing eliminates many of the conditions that make this a challenging material: It deposits a binder into a bed of Ti64 powder particles, creating a solid part one thin layer at a time, like printing on sheets of paper. The printed part is then sintered to high density and accuracy in a furnace, similar to metal injection-molding. Unbound material can be reused in the process.

The third material, 304L stainless steel, was developed in collaboration with CETIM, one of the largest industrial research organizations in Europe, to quickly produce critical replacement parts for the French energy sector, such as those used in fuel processing and nuclear energy.

304L is a common austenitic stainless steel, and its high tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and durability fit myriad home and commercial applications, such as structural components, food processing equipment, fluid transfer components, and welded components. 304L is a key material in the energy sector due to its corrosion resistance.

Desktop Metal’s 304L stainless-steel powder, printed and then sintered in an Ipsen graphite furnace, meets or exceeds the minimum tensile properties and the chemical composition outlined in the ASTM A240 standard. Further development is required to qualify binder jet 3D-printed 304L for use in food-processing equipment and applications involving welding.

First published March 16, 2023, on Engineering.com.


About The Author

Michael Oullette’s picture

Michael Oullette

Michael Oullette is the senior editor at Engineering.com. He has been a freelance writer and editor for years, and contributed to MOTUM B2B and Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine, as well as being the editor for Annex Business Media. He has the ability to break down complex topics in a way that readers can understand and take interest.