Desktop Metal announced it has qualified the use of 316L stainless steel for the Shop System, a metal binder jetting system designed for machine shops. With an expanded materials portfolio, users can now leverage binder jetting technology to print end-use parts in 316L stainless steel.
Known for its corrosion resistance, high ductility, and excellent mechanical properties at extreme temperatures, 316L is an austenitic stainless steel suited for demanding environments and applications, such as parts exposed to marine, pharmaceutical, or petrochemical processing, food preparation equipment, medical devices, surgical tooling, and consumer products such as jewelry.
316L Stainless Steel – key applications
The Desktop Metal materials science team has validated that 316L stainless steel printed and sintered using the Shop System meets MPIF 35 standards set by the Metal Powder Industries Federation.
Examples of key use cases include:
• Bulb nozzle
Custom spray nozzles are often used in chemical processing. With conventional manufacturing methods, such nozzles would typically be cast followed by extensive secondary machining on a five-axis CNC. 316L is an essential material for this part because of its excellent material properties, even at elevated working temperatures and while spraying corrosive fluids. 3D printing in 316L on the Shop System can produce the entire order of several hundred nozzles in less than a week with one secondary thread-tapping operation required, reducing lead times and manufacturing process complexity.
• Medical device closure
Assembly closures can be used to latch and hold medical device components in place. CNC machining these closures would be challenging given the miniscule, precise geometries, while metal injection molding (MIM) would require large investments and lead times for tooling, difficult to justify given the mid-volume requirements for the component. The Shop System can print up to 10,000 medical device closures in a week, without any tooling costs and without the extensive labor costs and time that machining would require. 316L is an ideal material for medical components such as this closure, because of its corrosion resistance, which makes it easy to clean and sterilize.
• Watch bezel
A bezel is the main component that houses the dial and movement within a watch. With the Shop System, multiple different watch bezel models can be printed in each build, enabling mass customization with no tooling required and minimal lead times. For consumer products applications such as this bezel, 316L allows corrosion resistance while maintaining the high strength.
The Shop System
Featuring a single pass print engine, the Shop System offers a turnkey solution for producing complex, end-use metal fast and affordably. The Shop System includes all the equipment machine shops need to begin binder jetting—from printing through sintering—and is designed to scale throughput with a range of build volume configurations. In addition, Desktop Metal software for build preparation and sintering simulation, in combination with metal powders and process parameters optimized to deliver exceptional part quality and repeatability, make it easy for businesses to get up and running with binder jetting in days instead of weeks or months.
Other key Shop System benefits include:
• Easy to use and operate. The Shop System produces parts at the push of a button through its easy-to-use software interface. It features engineered powders and default processing parameters optimized to deliver quality and ensure repeatability without the need for extensive third party materials qualification or process development. The use of software-generated hand-removable sintering setters eliminates the need for costly and labor-intensive post-processing steps.
• High productivity and superior print quality. Featuring variable build sizes up to 16L and a high-speed, single pass print carriage, the Shop System produces end-use metal parts up to 10 times the speed and at a fraction of the cost of legacy additive manufacturing technologies, amplifying existing output with up to hundreds of complex metal parts printed per day, with mechanical properties exceeding industry standards. With speeds up to 800 cc/hour, the Shop System enables batches of tens or hundreds of complex printed parts in as little as five hours.
• Rich feature detail with exceptional surface finish. Businesses can print dense, complex metal parts with fine feature detail and surface finishes as low as four-micron roughness average (Ra) out of the furnace. Using the single pass printhead, 1600 native DPI, the Shop System delivers 400% the resolution of legacy binder jetting systems. Reliable print quality is enabled by the 5x nozzle redundancy on the printhead — 25% higher redundancy than comparable binder jetting systems.
The Shop System also supports 17-4PH stainless steel and chrome cobalt. A broad portfolio of additional materials is in active R&D with additional releases slated to roll out this year.