Did you know you can manufacture metal parts with 3D printing? The Markforged Metal X makes this possible. Imagine having the ability to design and iterate metal parts rapidly in-house, never having to worry about sourcing legacy parts and being able to manufacture a series of custom tools to solve your production line challenges.
If you are an engineer, designer or manufacturer who relies on critical metal parts and tools in your work, the question isn’t whether you should invest in metal 3D printing - the question is whether you can afford not to.
Some of the business benefits of metal 3D printing include:
- Getting products faster
- Reducing manufacturing costs
- Reducing supply chain costs
- Improving supply chain efficiency
In addition, metal 3D printing offers the following technical benefits:
- A safe, reliable manufacturing method
- The ability to manufacture custom parts and tooling
- Eliminating tooling spend
- Faster production speeds than traditional metalworking (on average)
With the Metal X, you can print in a wide range of metals. They recently announced the launch of Copper filament, and the Metal X also prints 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, H13 Tool Steel, A2 Tool Steel, D2 Tool Steel and Inconel 625. In development are also 316L Stainless Steel and Titanium Ti-6AI-4V.
17-4 PH Stainless Steel is for end-use applications, where high strength and corrosion resistance are necessary. It's a highly versatile steel widely used in manufacturing and engineering. It's ideally suited to mechanical applications. When heat-treated, it reaches a tensile strength of 1,250 MPa.
H13 Tool Steel is for high temp, high wear applications. It is ideally suited to tooling, forming, dies and punches. When heat-treated, it reaches a tensile strength of 1,500 MPa. This material is widely used to make moulds and wear-resistant parts that have a finite useful life.
Suffice to say, the Metal X can print a wide range of metals to suit most applications, from tooling and custom fittings to consumer products. It has a build volume of 250 mm x 220 mm x 200 mm (9.8 in x 8.7 in x 7.9 in) and a 575 mm x 467 mm x 1432 mm footprint. It comes with an on-board camera for remote monitoring, and it runs on the cloud-based Eiger software platform developed by Markforged. Eiger offers two-factor authentication, and users get early access to new features.
In simple terms, the Metal X gives you everything you need to go from design to fully functional metal parts. There is no need for an external partner - you can design, make and sinter everything yourself in-house.
The technology powering the Metal X is a fifth-generation version of their proprietary ADAM (Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing) process. You can read our guide here.
ADAM prints parts in a metal powder surrounded by a plastic. Parts are then bulk sintered, with the plastic melting away and the powder transforming into solid, dense metal. Crystal growth occurs throughout all axes, to give parts the strength and mechanical properties of solid metal in all directions.
All metal filaments are composed of metal powder and two binding agents. The metal powder is bound in plastic to give it solid form, with some of that plastic dissolved in a solvent wash. The part is then placed in a furnace, with this stage called the 'sintering' stage. This is the point where the metal powder fuses into solid metal.
To help you figure out once and for all whether the Metal X is right for your use case, Markforged has created an extremely handy walkthrough of their printer. It’s available via this link. Just enter your contact details and you will be taken to a special landing page with a video and information about the Metal X.
All images in this article are credited to Markforged. We are an authorised and trusted Markforged reseller in the United Kingdom. If you have any questions about the Metal X, please feel free to reach out to us.