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3D metal printing

  • 1.  3D metal printing

    Posted 08-21-2020 09:43

    What do you feel is the future of 3D metal printing, and what is the real cost of parts made using this process?

    Marin Manole
    Foundry Metallurgist
    Coffeyville KS
    (616) 227-1668

  • 2.  RE: 3D metal printing

    Posted 08-22-2020 17:35

    Hi Marin,
    There is a future for Shure, but we still have to struggle with a lot of discrepant issues. The AM technology required massive investment in research and development to rich the level of sufficient efficiency and professionality. However, today we are printing already a lot of parts with different technologies &  from various materials ( titanium, aluminum, Inconel...etc ) especially in  aerospace, medical, automotive and others. As far the cost it depends the quality requirements such as : accuracy, surface roughness, other finish treatments, NDT and the necessity of machining  to remove all the printed supports holding the part in place during the process. There is a rule of thumb " never print something you have the ability to machine it or form it" , I guess it's explain you the cost effect of printing. I am sure that 10 years from now we will print almost everything but, we will still need all the machines for machining & finishing. One of the accounting problem in 3D printing is the porosity and void problems since the printing powder is not optimal yet from one hand, and the printing process required some more improvements from the other hand. Anyway, the elimination of subtracting material and recycling is a major factor in cost reduction at the end. There is anther advantage that the AM process is more sustainable & green ...   

    Eli Yudkevich
    consultant engineer
    self employ
    kfar saba il
    972 523663911

  • 3.  RE: 3D metal printing

    Posted 08-24-2020 10:36
    At the present time the current trend is to use materials that can be precipitation hardened.  Materials such as 17-4 PH stainless steel and precipitation hardened alloys of aluminum and Inconel are what most commercial additive manufacturing is what is being done today.  There is some research being done into carburizing low carbon AM parts with a traditional quench following the carburization process.  However the severity of the quench is very important as many AM part geometry is such that a vigorous quench will change the geometry and possibly the over all function of the part.

    Greg Steiger
    Key Account Manager
    Idemitsu Lubricants
    Chapin SC
    (919) 935-9910

  • 4.  RE: 3D metal printing

    Peoria Admin
    Posted 08-24-2020 10:37

    I believe the usage will vary significantly from industry to industry.  Metal 3D printing( Additive Manufacturing, AM) is already cost-competitive for small parts (under 1 lb) made from high-alloy materials which are difficult to cast.  For precision parts which require multiple pieces to be welded into a finished assembly, AM can build the part in a single pass, limiting the fixturing and machining required.  This also enables multiple changes to allow testing and optimization on a single build plate.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, for large parts (over 20 lbs) made out of traditional materials, it can often be less expensive to pay $15k for tooling and make a single part than to build that same part using AM.  As of 2020, the primary driver for AM printing cost is the time on the machine.  Alloy cost is only 5-10% of the total part cost.  

    Having said that, keep in mind that we are only a few years (5-20, depending on how you count it...) into the development of AM.  Yes, there are many quality problems facing current AM parts (internal porosity, surface finish, build speed, residual stresses, etc.).  However, as the industry grows and thinks of new ways to improve quality, there will be increased adoption of AM usage.  

    Specific to the Iron and Steel foundry business, the current best option is using sand printing with traditional melting processes.  You can choose a line on your foundry which has a mold size comparable with the part size you would like to quote at small volumes, and then use a 3D sand printer to build either only the cores for the part, or both the cores and a smaller mold box (which can fit in a custom sized print in an existing mold).  Another great option for foundries is to validate process changes using printed cores instead of actual tooling modifications.  And keep in mind that sand printers are only one tool at your disposal - you can run the cost numbers to compare purchasing a printed core from a company or university which has available sand-printer capacity, modifying your tooling, or purchasing your own sand printer (depending on what you would like to do with it).  

    Probably more answer than you wanted - my apologies ;)  Best wishes!


    Zachary Birky
    Engineering Specialist
    Caterpillar Incorporated
    Washington IL
    (309) 494-2368