Interested in 3D printing metal? Here’s how to get started

The jump from traditional production methods to 3D printing is not a big one. In this blog, we will tell you why and how to take that jump.

When should you consider 3D printing metal components?

As we discussed earlier, 3D printing metal components is especially worthwhile when 1) the geometric shapes of the components are intricate, 2) you need an individual component or you want to produce a small series, or 3) you need to start production quickly.

3D printing metal is also cost-efficient and improves optimisation of a component for the desired functions. The cost savings you get in 3D printing come from, for example, integrating components and parts. This avoids having to assemble the components and parts after printing and at the same time improves reliability, as several different parts are integrated into one seamless whole.

3D printing is often a better option than traditional manufacturing methods with regard to a component’s functionality. It nearly never limits the shape of a metal component, because the component’s weight, that is, how light it is, its strength and technical fluidity can be optimised as desired. The end result is therefore a more functional component.

If these things aroused your interest, you might want to start exploring the possibility of starting 3D printing of metal. It is very possible that your business could benefit from it.

Before you start 3D printing metal…

The jump from traditional manufacturing methods to 3D printing isn’t a terribly big one. You can get started with as little effort as merely asking some questions.

At 3D Formtech, we are happy to answer any questions you may have and tell you what things to consider in 3D printing, as well as the kind of metals that are best suited for 3D printing. As experts in 3D printing, we can also say whether it would be worthwhile to make a particular component entirely with 3D printing, or whether it would perhaps be better to make it with hybrid printing.

Mapping out 3D printing service providers and contacting a suitable one is a good starting point in your 3D printing process of metal. Moreover, taking a 3D printing expert on board as early in the process as possible, preferably already in the designing stage, you will be able to take full advantage of the possibilities 3D printing offers. So, in this sense, it’s not a good idea to dwell on the subject too long.

Choosing a partner for your metal 3D printing project

Drawing upon what we have said above, we can conclude that finding a suitable partner for 3D printing services is one of the most important milestones on the road to capitalising on 3D printing of metal. What should you consider when choosing a partner?

In short, when choosing a partner for 3D printing metal, you should pay particular attention to the adequacy of the service provider’s resources in relation to your needs — an industrial company’s needs can only be met with industrial-level equipment. The service provider should also use high-quality metal material and be able to offer different finishing options, such as machining, polishing, surface treatment, etc. The company’s capacity to test the materials produced with its own equipment is also a big bonus!

Let’s not forget, of course, the service provider’s expertise: to take full advantage of 3D printing of metal, you need a partner that can provide expert consultation. Expertise also often correlates with cost savings.

When looking for a suitable partner, search possible candidates’ websites. They usually contain information on the companies’ technical capabilities and resources. You could also talk to the companies’ representatives directly. This is a good way to find out their level of expertise and enthusiasm to cater to your needs.

Interested in 3D printing metal? Be among the first to take advantage of its possibilities. Get in touch with us and we will tell you more about it.

Read the other blogs in our series here.

Blog 1: Metal additive manufacturing – our new blog series begins
Blog 2: Demands of industry-level metal 3D printing on equipment and production quality
Blog 3: Designing is the cornerstone of metal additive manufacturing