Many additive machines can use standard materials as long as they are in the proper format. An example is metals. As long as the metal powder have certain features, such as the right size grain structure, you can purchase powders from any reliable source.
For other additive machines, though, custom materials are required to fit the deposition system used in the machine. This often means special formats that will flow through nozzles, as an example.
With the HP Inc. additive machines, the print engine is the same as that for its 2D ink jet printers, and the ink agents are similar.
But HP does not want to be in the business of creating materials. The HP machines operate with “open materials.” To help ensure that a material is compatible with the additive machine, HP has introduced an open materials lab in Corvallis, OR, and a materials development kit.
The materials building kit helps engineers answer the questions of “will the powder work in the system?” “How much change in the material is needed before the material is compatible?” How will the reactive agents affect the materials? Will the powder flow properly over the bed? Is this behavior consistent and predictable? And repeatable? And so on. The development kit will help ensure the certification process for new materials goes smoothly. The kit will also help developers determine if different print modes will modify specific characteristics of materials, as well.