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View Full Version : 3D Printing now in stainless steel


Patrick210
08-05-2009, 01:00 PM
I thought this was pretty cool:

http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2009-08/3-d-printing-now-stainless-steel

gnom3
08-05-2009, 02:56 PM
Very interesting, but I still don't fully understand how the steel printing leaves shade lines on the object ?

DanielWray
08-05-2009, 03:15 PM
It still uses layers, it's powdered steel with a binding resin, hence the surface finish.

Still sounds like a pretty nice idea though :)

csven
08-05-2009, 03:19 PM
I'm rather amazed that this process is being touted as something new; all Shapeways is doing is being marketing savvy in claiming the first to be "for everyone". The process described isn't even the most advanced; it's a sintering process requiring post-processing. In other words, the sintered metal powder is porous, hence the need to infiltrate with another metal (bronze is common). More advanced is DLM (direct laser melting) and EBM (electron beam melting) which actually cause the metal powder to melt. The resulting parts are near cast metal in quality; easily exceeding formed metals according to test reports I've read.

And those aren't shade lines; they're topographic. You can find plenty of videos showing SLS processes (plastic and metal). Once you see how it's done, you'll understand better why there are lines.

DaddyMack
08-05-2009, 10:56 PM
I've been working with shapeways for a year now and the steel is the sexiest development yet... I've got a few pieces here and they're stunning!.. The reclining nude alien on their banner is mine and at 4cm and 20 bucks it's pretty crazy what the current state of the art can produce

DogBreath
08-06-2009, 07:30 AM
Thats cool, it was interesting to see your alien Rob, just to get a scale reference it would be nice to see it in a $50, 100 and 200 size. Its a bit hard to gauge the size is it about the size of a car key? Is the alien hollow.

csven
08-06-2009, 07:09 PM
Rob, would enjoy hearing if you've had any sales and if so if they're single digit or if you've had double-digit interest, if you care to share. I like your Cosmic Bowl, but in stainless it's certainly not priced for the faint-of-heart.

Szos
08-06-2009, 09:25 PM
It is very interesting to see that it is possible to now print with Stainless Steel, but the prices are quite high.

I actually own a 3D printer and find the technology quite fascinating. And while Shapeways has an interesting website, none of the prints that they offer can print in color, AFAIK. That is one of the areas that I would like to concentrate on when I get everything up and ready to go.

csven
08-06-2009, 09:45 PM
It's been possible to "print" stainless steel (and other metals) since at least 2001 when Concept Laser GmbH introduced a stainless steel powder additive fabrication solution. EOS introduced it with their machines in 2006.

Shapeways didn't invent it, they're simply making it more widely available.

Szos
08-07-2009, 01:25 AM
^ I gotta say, that I didn't know it was possible back then. My guess is that this it was far from cheap though. Hell even now it's quite expensive.

I honestly think that unless you are printing out only one or two, it might very well be cheaper to print out a mold instead - it's not gonna be stainless steel, but for most purposes that wouldn't matter.

Definitely one of the uses that I am researching for my 3D printer.

csven
08-13-2009, 12:09 AM
Szos, that's exactly how I see it most often done. The 3D print positive is done in wax or a wax/plastic mix, a mold is built around it, and metal is poured in what amounts to a modern version of the Lost Wax method.

If I were going to do something like toys, for example, I wouldn't 3D print each toy; I'd print a mold directly and start casting parts. Much more cost-efficient whether metal, resin, starch, ceramic or whatever.

Szos
08-13-2009, 03:26 AM
Szos, that's exactly how I see it most often done. The 3D print positive is done in wax or a wax/plastic mix, a mold is built around it, and metal is poured in what amounts to a modern version of the Lost Wax method.

If I were going to do something like toys, for example, I wouldn't 3D print each toy; I'd print a mold directly and start casting parts. Much more cost-efficient whether metal, resin, starch, ceramic or whatever.

As long as the quantity supports it. If you are doing 2 or 3 or 4, then probably just print them. Doing a dozen or two, then a mold would probably be the way to go. Obviously it would depend on multiple factors to see where the break-off point would be as to which method to go with. Also, why print a wax part only to them make a mold out of it... just print the actual mold itself. Doing it that way is more work than directly printing out the parts, but for higher quantities, it's the only way.

I really have to get more raw material soon to see if there is any demand for 3D prints from fellow CGTalkers.

:thumbsup:

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