In 3D printing, composite materials typically consist of two or more materials. Compared to other manufacturing technologies, it’s fairly easy to create composite materials for 3D printing and achieve a range of properties that benefit the design. For example, these materials can deliver better or different properties than single materials, properties such as strength, heat and stress resistance, or a mix of tensile strengths.
For example, Nylon 3200, from Sculpteo is a glass-filled material consisting of polyamide powder and glass beads. The addition of glass increases durability and resistance.
Another example is Alumide, a mix of polyamide and fine aluminum particles. This strong material suits applications involving prototyping or decorative end products. This material is more known for its texture, which is part sandy and part shiny.
Aluminium AlSi7Mg0,6 is a frequent material in selective laser melting applications. Its composition is 90% aluminum, 7% silicone and 0.6% magnesium. 3D printed parts made from it can withstand high voltages, yet the parts are still durable and lightweight.
Stainless Steel 316L is a common 3D printing material. In metal laser sintering applications it resists corrosion and ductility. The medical industry often chooses this material for medical devices. The aerospace industry 3D prints mechanical parts. And the automotive industry uses it for its corrosion resistance. This material consists of 66-70% iron, 16 -18% chrome, 11 – 14 % nickel, and 2 to 3 % molybdenum.
Another common 3D printing metal is Titanium 6Al 4V. It is composed of 88-90% Titanium, 5.50-6.5% Aluminum, and 3.50-4.50% Vanadium. It resists oxidation and has a high melting point of 1660° C/ 3260° F. The aerospace, automotive, and military industries often use this material.
Both powder bed 3D printing technologies and extrusion based metal technologies can use composite materials.