The lightest 3D printed metal available through T3NDER is Aluminium – AlSi10Mg. This is a casting grade of aluminium which is printed using the Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process. Aluminium in powdered form is laid down layer-by-layer on the build platform, between each layer a laser scans across the required cross section, sintering the powder particles together to form a metal structure. 3D Models can be printed with a minimum wall thickness of 1.0mm. Geometry is critical to getting a good surface finish on the model as under-hanging surfaces can be rough. Parts can be polished, heat-treated, ultrasealed and even welded after printing.
Titanium Ti6Al4V is currently one of a number metals that can be printed using the process of Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Titanium is strong, light and corrosion resistant. It is mainly used for its strength in high-end engineering applications but it is also being used more and more for jewellery.
Inconel is a high-end engineering nickel super-alloy which can withstand temperatures over 900degreeC. Currently 625 and 718 grades are available to 3D print. Traditionally Inconel is cast, but with the latest DMLS technology parts can be printed, removing the need for expensive tooling. It is used extensively within aerospace, mainly for jet-engine turbine blades. Motorsport and high-end automotive companies are also using Inconel for exhaust and turbo applications. 3D Inconel models in either grade can be heat-treated, polished, hand finished and even welded into larger assemblies.