Although metal 3D printers have been around for a very long time now, it only started to gain popularity in the recent years. One of the reasons that can explain this is the fact that it has become relevant in many industries and has encouraged them to stop depending on traditional manufacturing techniques when it comes to metal parts production.
Today, along with the evolution in technology, more options for 3D printing has been available. Designers, engineers, as well as product owners have been interested in implementing this technique to their production process. Below are the reasons that have made them decide to do so.
What Are the Advantages Compared to other Techniques?
The use of metal 3D printers has been a constant trend in the industry. One of its main advantages lie in the continuous expansion in the range of alloys, metals, and metallic composites that can be produced with the help of this technology.
At present, the available materials for 3D printing allows manufacturers to create and produce parts of any chemical and mechanical properties.
Lesser Lead Times
Additive manufacturing has become a faster transition from the stage of design to the production of final parts. A lot of time is saved with the help of the technology. In most cases, there is no specific tool or machine device that is needed to process the part after it has been printer in 3D form.
The operator just needs to remove the elements like the support structures that are created during the process of printing. This greatly decrease the post processing time and does not require to tool the part with the use of turning or milling just to adjust the shape.
In the past, machining was necessary when creating holes or when adding connecting elements. But today, such is not necessary anymore. Thus, three-dimensional printing the metal parts have shortened lead times from weeks to days.
Cost-Cutting Through Reduction of Material Waste
Another great advantage that results from the production of metal with the help of additive manufacturing is the reduction in material waste. When it comes to 3D printing, raw material is being added and carefully formed one layer after the other, instead of a cut out or subtracted bulk solid figure.
Thus, the material will only be placed to where it is needed and the cost of the material used is reduced. This makes the technology resource- efficient.
Another Approach to Design
Considering the perspective of the design, this technology allows the production of complex and unique structures. Normally, there are some elements that cannot really be casted but should be added to the element during the post production. For example, adding threads and holes need machining the parts after the mold has been removed. This increase the effort and time to manufacture the desired shape.
In terms of additive manufacturing, the complexity of the part will not necessarily generate any additional cost. If it was previously needed to use numerous separate parts within a welded or twisted structure, today, only one part is needed and can even be manufactured as a single piece.