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3D Printers by Desktop Metal Now Have a Titanium Filament

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The list of materials for additive manufacturing devices Studio System 2 by Desktop Metal now includes a filament filled with titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V (Ti64), a new step in the field of metal 3D printing.

Studio System 2 solutions are made for ‘office’ 3D printing of metal-polymer shapes for annealing and sintering into full-metal products. The second generation of the additive system has been offered since February 2021. The main new feature is elimination of the need to chemically mill a binding polymer before heat treatment. This significantly lowers the costs and complexity of the process.

“Titanium has been a challenging material for bound metal 3D printing because it is both extremely reactive in powder form and difficult to sinter,” commented Jonah Myerberg, Co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal. “We are excited to be the first to commercialize the most common titanium alloy, Ti64, for 3D printing...”

The image above shows a 3D printed bracket with a gyroid mesh structure. It is made of a titanium alloy instead of the 17-4PH steel in order to reduce mass while keeping strength and rigidity. Such geometry would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing processes due to its complexity. 3D printing this part using Ti64 alloy on Studio System 2 made it 59 percent lighter.

Ti64 is the most commonly used titanium alloy that offers high strength, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. High strength to mass ratio makes Ti64 a great choice for manufacturing functional parts for the aerospace, defense, automotive and oil-gas industries. Moreover, it’s biological compatibility explains why the alloy is popular for making surgical tools and implants.

The properties of this material include: 730 MPa yield strength, 845 MPa ultimate tensile strength, and 17 percent elongation, which goes beyond the requirements to meet the ASTM F2885-17 medical implant grade standard for molded products.

The image above shows fasteners for a drone, fuel injector nozzle and a ring that is a part of an electromechanical focusing system of a portable telescope. In the case of drones, using lightweight materials for parts will reduce the mass of the machines, in turn improving their flight time. In addition, to make parts of the drone even lighter, one could consider using carbon-fiber reinforced 3D printing, combining continuous carbon fiber with regular thermoplastics. This allows achieving the required strength levels, while keeping the part up to 7 times lighter. This technology is patented by Anisoprint.

Businesses that don’t have the budget for a Desktop Metal 3D printer or a CCF 3D printer such as Anisoprint, might consider an alternative method to use 3D printing for the production of metal parts. If you use a low-budget resin 3D printer such as the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K combined with resin such as Bluecast, you could utilize the resulting print as a pattern for casting in titanium.

The second part, the nozzle, has to have a high level of thermal resistance, as well as strength and optimized geometry of inner channels. Regarding the last part, the small weight of 3D printed titanium components makes it possible to use less strong motors, which in turn reduces wear and tear and the price of telescope installation. Such focus rings are usually manufactured in small batches, which ups their costs when using traditional methods. The Studio System 2 can print up to 6 similar parts in less than 24 hours.

Apart from new titanium filament, Studio Systems 2 3D printers are already compatible with other metal-polymer filaments reinforced with 316L and 17-4PH stainless steel, 4140 low alloy steel, H13 tool steel and copper. The supplies of new material will start in September 2021. More information about Desktop Metal offers is available at their official website.

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