Desktop Metal, Inc., a leader in mass production and turnkey additive manufacturing (AM) systems, and Uniformity Labs, a leading additive manufacturing company of industrial 3D printing materials and processes, announced a powder that enables aluminum sintering for binder jetting AM technology. This new powder is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the companies to develop a low-cost, raw material yielding fully dense, sinterable 6061 aluminum with greater than ten percent (10%) elongation and improved yield strength (YS) and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) versus wrought 6061 aluminum with comparable heat treatment.
Said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal, “The global aluminum castings market is more than $50 billion per year, and it is ripe for disruption with binder jetting AM solutions. These are the best reported properties we are aware of for a sintered 6061 aluminum powder.”
“The introduction of lightweight metals to binder jetting opens the door to a variety of thermal and structural applications across industries,” said Adam Hopkins, founder and CEO of Uniformity Labs. “This development is a step towards the adoption of mass-produced printed aluminum parts.”
Prior techniques used to sinter aluminum included coating powder particles, mixing sintering aids into the powder, using binders containing nanoparticles, or adding metals such as lead, tin, and magnesium.
The new powder also enables compatibility with water-based binders and has a higher minimum ignition energy (MIE) relative to other commercially available 6061 aluminum powders, for a better safety profile.
Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs plan to continue to work together over the coming year to qualify the powder and scale production for commercial release. Once fully qualified, Uniformity 6061 aluminum will be available for use with the Desktop Metal Production System platform, which offers an inert, chemically inactive processing environment and auxiliary powder processing equipment.