3D printing has made its way into many industries recently – in the arts, and to prototype figures, toys, and products of every kind. It’s a cheap technology that isn’t limited by the complexity of design.
With the advancement of the tech, there are now processes for 3D printing with metals such as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting). Metal 3D printing is the fastest growing segment of additive manufacturing processes, with ripple effects in at least four major industries.
Who uses metal in 3D printing?
The companies adopting metal additive manufacturing applications are typically high in value, and produce relatively low numbers of products. These industries are the earliest to use this technology. 3D printing benefits are great for these industries because of the precision of the process and the relaxed timeline for the finished product.
Aviation companies have invested billions of dollars for fuel nozzles. 3D printing can print with a number of light metals such as titanium and alloys of cobalt, nickel, and aluminum. It’s not just that the nozzles are lighter though, it’s also much simpler and more intricate. The number of parts used in the nozzle is reduced from 18 to 1. Because of this, intricate cooling and support ligaments will increase its life five-fold.
Biomedicine also makes use of the precision of 3D printing. The industry has manufactured implants using the technology. Another way biomedicine is using additive manufacturing is in research for artificial flesh. While these applications are still early in research, it’s amazing to learn about how 3D printing may be adapted for the future of medicine.
Another industry that’s making creative use of 3D printing is jewelery. The jewelers were very early to take up SLM 3D printing. This allowed them to melt together precious metals easily. Gold powder has had a 49% market share because of the industry. Some difficulty of additive manufacturing in this industry is that 3D printed metals do not come out smooth. However, jewelery designers are experts in polishing and finishing metals in both new and traditional ways.
As 3D printing becomes more powerful, the limitations start to fade. One of the most famous demonstrations of this is the 3D printed car by Local Motors at IMTS, an international manufacturing conference. About 75% of the car is printed including the chassis and exterior. It’s made using a blend of carbon fiber and ABS plastic and took two months to finish.
Join PanelShop.com at IMTS 2016 to explore the future of advanced manufacturing technologies
To learn more about the possibilities of 3D printing metal, visit or tune in to the next International Manufacturing Technology Show on September 12-17, 2016 in Chicago. PanelShop.com will be there at Booth E4131 with a hot cup of coffee to get you started on the conference gauntlet. Some of the biggest names in advanced 3D printing will be there to showcase the latest achievements in additive manufacturing technology.
In the meantime, PanelShop.com will build your custom control panels here at our headquarters in the United States – letting you focus on new technologies or refocus on your core business. Tell us about the project you have in mind and we'll quote you within 48 hours: