What is 3D metal printing?

3D metal printing is an additive production process (meaning that the material is added). This makes it different from most other production processes, which involve material being removed. K3D uses an environmentally friendly process in which metal powder is melted down by lasers and formed into a solid product.

MetalFAB1

K3D uses high-end production machines. We are extremely proud of our MetalFAB1. It is the first integrated 3D metal printer capable of serial production. The only company printing with this elite machine before K3D was Airbus. The MetalFAB1’s automated robotic system guarantees high productivity. The impressive technical specifications of this machine are just the cherry on top of everything else we offer you:

  • Volume: 420 x 420 x 400 mm
  • 4 lasers
  • 2 printing chambers
  • Heat treatment up to 1100 °C

More information on the MetalFAB1 by Additive Industries is available here.

A broad range of materials to choose from

3D metal printing can be done using different metals. At K3D, we have the following metals available as printing materials: aluminium, maraging steel, stainless steel, titanium and Inconel. We are more than happy to assist you in determining the type of metal best suited to your 3D printing needs.

  • Stainless steel 1.4404 (316L)
  • Maraging staal 1.2709 (steel for equipment)
  • Aluminium (AlSi10Mg)
  • Titanium (Ti6Al4V)
  • Inconel (In718)

How your 3D printing process works

  1. A thin layer (20–100 microns) of metal powder is placed on the printing plate.
  2. Lasers melt this powder down exclusively in the areas defined by the 3D CAD model.
  3. The printing plate descends by one layer.
  4. Steps 1 to 3 are repeated until the last layer of powder has been melted by the laser.
  5. The final result is a large block of powder with the laser-generated product inside it.
  6. The powder is removed.
  7. The product is heat treated to temper it or improve its mechanical properties.
  8. The product is then removed from the printing plate.
  9. Finally, any desired post-processing is performed, such as turning, milling, tumble finishing and blasting.

The advantages of 3D metal printing

  • Unparalleled design freedom: it is possible to print incredibly complex shapes.
  • Environmental friendly: waste is reduced because the metal powder that has not been melted is reused.
  • Weight reduction: materials are only used when needed.
  • Fewer components: components are printed all at once.
  • Customisation: the article number and logos can easily be printed during the process.
  • Short lead times: the large production capacity shortens the project lead time.
  • Smaller inventory: components are printed upon request, eliminating the need for a large inventory.
  • Accelerated development process: new products can be created by printing prototypes.
  • Greater functionality: multiple functions are combined in one component.
  • More affordable: no expensive equipment or templates required.