When three-dimensional (3D) components need to be printed, it is important to ensure the most appropriate materials are being used for the application. Several metals can go through the 3D printing process
, and each metal provides a range of properties that might make them more suitable than others. In this blog post, we will highlight what metals can be 3D printed and what properties each metal possesses.
Which Metals can be 3D Printed?
Metals must be used in metal powder form to manufacture components via 3D printing. The metals that are available in powder form and are suitable for 3D printing include aluminum, cobalt chrome, pure copper, nickel alloys, stainless steel, titanium alloys, tungsten and also precious metals such as gold and silver.
The mechanical properties of some of the metals mentioned will be listed below. As you will see, there are many similar properties between them but others that make them a more suitable metal in specific applications, such as aluminum being lightweight or steel having high ductility.
- Titanium alloys: Low weight combined with high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and high fatigue resistance compared to other lightweight alloys
- Nickel: good tensile, fatigue, creep and rupture strength
- Pure copper: excellent thermal conductance
If a metal is available in the appropriate powder form, it can be used for 3D printing. However, it is worth noting that if a metal is more likely to burn at a high temperature, instead of melting, it will need to be processed via extrusion through a 3D printing nozzle.
3D Metal Printing with JEOL
JEOL is making headway in the 3D printing industry with our unique additive manufacturing technology. JEOL has designed and manufactured an electron beam metal additive manufacturing machine
called the JAM-5200EBM. This machine will enhance the 3D printing metal process with higher speeds than other available laser beam options and a range of other features.
The JAM-5200EBM has been developed by JEOL’s team, who have over 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing automated electron beam control technology. See our blog and video “Why JEOL developed a new 3D Printer
”. With innovation at the front of our designs, the new JAM-5200EBM metal printer
allows for lighter parts to be manufactured cleanly and efficiently.
The key features of the JAM-5200EBM e-beam metal additive manufacturing system include being environmentally friendly, as it is helium-free and eliminates any smoke produced during manufacturing. Additional features include the following:
Automatic electron beam correction
If the focus and spot shape of the electron beam are inaccurate, the system will automatically correct them based on the irradiation position. JEOL’s experience in electron beam lithography systems for semiconductor manufacturing played a key role in developing this technology in-house which allows parts to be produced with higher quality and reproducibility.
The cathode in the e-beam system can operate for over 1,500 hours, which significantly reduces the need for downtime and allows processes to run smoothly. Because of the helium-free environment of the system, the surface of the cathode is protected from damage and thus improves the already high performance of the electron beam. These features help to reduce manufacturing costs whilst increasing product quality.
Contact us today for more information on our products or 3D printing and we’ll be happy to schedule a call or virtual demonstration.