Removal of part from build plate with wire EDM, bandsaw, or flush cutting tool
Feed cylinder increments up placing powder in front of the recoater.
Recoater moves across the feed cylinder delivering powder to the build cylinder.
Laser fuses the cross section of the part.
Build cylinder increments down one thickness layer.
The process is repeated until the volume of the part is fully built.
The build cylinder raises up and the build plate is removed.
Engineering prototypes are typically the first manufacturing step in evaluating new product designs. Metal powder-bed fusion allows engineering and development departments to print their parts locally without the need of large centralized 3D printing facilities.
The as-printed metal prototypes meet the specified dimensional tolerances and metal properties without the need for subsequent debinding and sintering. Quick iterative prototype changes can often be printed overnight, reducing the total design time.
Rapid manufacture and turn-around of in-demand tooling is often a challenge in conventional machine shops due to shop loading and timing. Complex geometries – including internal features and channels – are even more challenging to manufacture with subtractive machining processes. Metal powder-bed fusion uses conventional CAD files to generate a build file for the metal 3D printer. The as-printed, high-density parts meet the specified dimensional tolerances and can be heat treated to the required hardness similar to machined or cast metal parts.
Low-volume manufacturing of single parts or small batches is often impractical and expensive to make with conventional machining, casting or stamping processes. Metal powder-bed fusion offers an inexpensive alternative that provides on-demand printing, integrating into Lean Manufacturing production.
Simply upload the build file to the 3D printer, load the powder and press START. The final as-printed part has over 99% density, the required dimensional tolerances, and specified mechanical properties, all at a lower per-part cost over traditional manufacturing processes.
Additive Manufacturing has been identified by both government and education experts as a critical solution in smart manufacturing and an important component of Industry 4.0. Future technicians, engineers and scientists are often limited in hands-on training because of the high cost, centralization and unavailability of the metal additive manufacturing printers.
The Xact Metal XM200C system addresses these needs as a reliable, affordable and accessible metal powder-bed fusion 3D printer. With simple set-up, intuitive simple-to-use interface and rapid turn-around between prints, the XM200C increases the number of students receiving important hands-on printing training.
Tall, narrow features should have a maximum height:width (aspect) ratio of 8:1. Features with greater aspect ratios risk damage by the recoater during powder application. Adding a gusset to the component design will strengthen the feature and minimize damage.
Flat ceilings larger than 1 mm (0.04 in.) will require a solid or mesh support. Fillets can also be added to prevent warpage out of the build plane.
Solid or mesh mechanical supports can be added to optimize anchoring, minimize wall distortion from thermal gradients, support overhanging geometry, and provide solid anchoring between the component and the build plate to eliminate component movement during printing. The supports are removed after separation of the component from the build plate. Extra care should be taken when removing supports from thin walled parts; the process of removing the supports could potentially warp the parts.
Horizontal holes with diameters less than 5 mm (0.2 in.) can be printed reliably without internal support. Larger holes will require an internal mesh support or design change. Changing to a tear drop, oval, or square shape will eliminate the need for internal supports.
Typical minimum wall thicknesses range from 100 to 200 microns
(0.004 to 0.008 in.).
Holes are required to allow powder to escape from enclosed printed structures. A minimum hole diameter of 3.0 mm (0.12 in.) is recommended. Multiple or larger holes will increase the speed of powder removal.