Five Takeaways: Metal 3D Printing Gains Momentum

Binder Jet Metal 3DP Well-Suited for Enterprise and Industrial Applications

July 15, 2021—New York, NY—Shapeways, a leading global digital manufacturing platform driven by proprietary software, and ExOne, the pioneer in binder jet 3D printing technology, recently held a webinar "Metal 3D Printing: Fast, Affordable and Flexible with Binder Jetting." Below are five takeaways to consider when optimizing the production of high-performance metal parts using the latest advancements in digital manufacturing solutions:

1. Metal 3D Printing is making a difference today
The market for metal additive manufacturing is expected to grow to more than $30 billion by 2030, according to a recent study from 3dpbm Research. Clearly, this technology is gaining rapid traction in supporting demanding applications, especially for aerospace/aviation, automotive, electronics, healthcare/medical and oil/gas. For years, Shapeways and ExOne have collaborated to produce stainless steel parts printed on ExOne binder jet 3D printers.

2. Binder jet printing is well suited for affordable, high-volume production of complex parts
Binder jetting is well suited for producing the most complex geometries with the throughput needed to drive high-volume production comparable to traditional manufacturing methods, such as metal injection molding (MIM) and metal casting. Binder jetting for metals, ceramics and composite powders is capable of a variety of output forms, including bonded, porous, infiltrated and high-density (97+%) sintered product forms.

3. Metal materials yield part densities comparable to metal injection molding
Binder jet 3D printing can produce part densities comparable to traditional manufacturing and often better than MIM or common powder metallurgy. Shapeways offers two materials that are designed for optimum results using binder jet printing: X1 Metal 4201 - an affordable, highly durable steel and bronze matrix combination, as well as a high-density 316L stainless steel with MIM properties.

Metal 3D Printing really stands out when making parts or products from advanced materials, such as titanium, which can be prohibitively expensive when relying on traditional manufacturing methods. Metal 3DP also is attractive when working with alloys that require extremely high cooling rates.

4. Metal 3D printing dramatically reduces waste
No matter the industry or product, finding ways to do business in an eco-friendly manner has become a top enterprise priority. While traditional manufacturing methods typically rely on cutting and trimming away materials that then are discarded, binder jet metal 3D printing significantly reduces waste. This facilitates the production of parts featuring organic shapes and complex geometries with a level of precision that doesn't generate debris volumes that must be cleaned, recycled and discarded. Moreover, ExOne recycles its powders and binders to provide heightened sustainability of its materials, processes and machines.

5. Designing for binder jet printing requires best practices
To ensure optimal results, it's important to follow best practices for determining and addressing critical product design considerations, encompassing wall thickness, font and detail, interior holes and cavities, inside corners as well as knife and pointed edges. Shapeways leverages its expertise working with the latest materials and technologies, along with experience supporting the most demanding applications, to address top design parameters while giving designers the freedom to produce parts previously not possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
Shapeways experts are available to share further insights on tips, technologies and solutions for maximizing metal additive manufacturing and binder jet printing.
About Shapeways
Shapeways' digital manufacturing platform offers customers access to high quality manufacturing from start to finish through automation, innovation and digitization. The company's purpose-built software, wide selection of materials and technologies, and global supply chain lower manufacturing barriers and speed delivery of quality products. Shapeways' digital manufacturing services have empowered more than one million customers worldwide to produce more than 21 million parts using 11 different technologies and 90 different materials and finishes. Headquartered in New York City, Shapeways has ISO 9001-compliant manufacturing facilities in Long Island City, N.Y., and the Netherlands and a network of innovative partners around the globe. It was founded in 2008 and spun-out of the Lifestyle Incubator of Royal Philips Electronics in 2010. Investors include Lux Capital, Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, INKEF Capital, Index Ventures and Hewlett Packard Ventures.

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