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There are several different ways that 3d printers can create metal parts. The most common process is called Powder Bed Fusion (PBF).
Another method, called Directed Energy Deposition, uses a laser to melt powdered metal and create a solid part. This technique is used to repair damaged metal parts, but it can also be used to make new pieces from scratch.
Some of the more common types of powder and filaments that can be used for metal 3D printing are tool steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and nickel alloys. All of these materials have the benefit of being tough and abrasion resistant.
These materials are ideal for a wide variety of industrial applications. They can be used in things like manufacturing tools, hammers, forgings, and castings.
A third type of metal is called superalloys, which are specifically suited for harsh environments. They have the ability to withstand extreme heat and abrasion, which makes them ideal for turbines, nuclear components, and other high-performance applications.
There are a few 3d printers that can produce these superalloys. One is the Meld studio, which starts with metal bars and uses friction-stir deposition to fuse layers together.
It can print several kilograms of metal per hour, which is ten times faster than PBF systems. Additionally, it works at lower temperatures than fusion systems, which means it can save energy.
Xact Metal is another new startup that aims to revolutionize the 3d printer industry with their patented Bound Metal Deposition technology. This method uses a proprietary binder that dissolves with heat and pressure to form the final part.