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What is 3D Printing Metal Powder?

Metal 3D printing, or Selective Laser Melting is a technology which uses metal powder to direct print metal parts. 3D printed metal powders should not only be plastic, but also have a small particle size and a tight distribution.

Metal powders are used to make 3D printers. They include nickel, stainless steel and cobalt chromium alloy. Iron base alloy is one of the largest and most valuable metal materials in engineering technology. It’s widely used for the formation of complicated structures.

The performance of your final product will depend on the metal powder type and 3D printing method used.

Chrome steel powder

Low-cost metal printing materials can be rapidly and economically used for small quantities of intricate industrial parts.

Aluminium alloy powder

AlSi12Mg is the main aluminum alloy used for 3D metal printing. Aluminium silicate 12 (lightweight additive) is used to make metal powders that have good thermal properties. Combining silicon and magnesium makes aluminum alloys stronger and more stiff. They are suitable for complex shapes and thin walls, particularly in areas with high thermal properties and light weight. Aluminium alloy is a popular non-ferrous metal structural material. Because it has low density, high specific strengths, and plasticity that’s comparable to high-quality steel or better, it is a very widely used product. 3D printing of aluminum alloy has been shown to produce compact parts with small structures, similar or better than casting mold parts. The cost per part can be as low as 30%, while the weight can be decreased by 22%.

Cobalt chrome alloy powder

It is also used for dentistry because of its wear resistance and resistance to corrosion.

Copper alloy dust

Excellent thermal conductivity and excellent electrical conductivity make copper a great choice for thermal management applications. It can also combine design degrees to allow you to build complex internal structures as well as conformal cooling pathways.

Titanium alloy powder

It’s widely used in the aerospace industry. 3D printing offers many benefits. One example is the ability to replace a solid product body with a more complex, reasonable design. The result will be fewer weights and superior mechanical properties. This not only lowers the production cost but can also make each part lighter.

Nickel alloy powder

Its oxidation- and corrosion-resistant properties make nickel alloy suitable for harsh environments such as high temperature or high pressure. To protect internal nickel alloys from corrosion, heat will cause the surface to passivate an oxide layer. Nickel alloys retain good mechanical properties at a variety of temperatures.

Can powdered materials be used in 3D printing?

3D modeling data is used to control high energy laser beams to melt and then sinter the metal matrix. Then, it automatically stacks them in layers to form solid parts.

Making 3D-Printed Metal Powders?

Solid-state reduction is the most popular method for making metal powders.

Many manufacturers resort to electrolysis and other reduction methods when producing elemental metal particles. However, they are not suitable to make alloy powders.

Alloy powder can be made using the atomization technique.

The other method of producing powdered metallic metals is called electrolysis. Different metals may be either spongy- or powdered depending on the electrolyte’s composition, temperature and concentration. These can then be washed or dried and reduced to a powdered form. This process is useful for producing very high-purity metal powder. This method is used to make highly conductive copper dust.

An atomization method is a mechanical way to reduce molten steel into smaller pieces than 150mm. Based on the crushing of metal melt classification, the atomization process includes: the second flow, centrifugal and ultrasonic methods, as well vacuum atomization. All of the atomization methods are unique and can be used successfully in industrial production. Water-gas atomization is one of the best industrial methods for making metal powder. It has simple equipment and processes, as well as low energy consumption.

Performance requirements of metal powder for 3D printing

1. Purity

Ceramic inclusions can significantly decrease the product’s performance. They also have a low melting point which makes it difficult for powder to be sinter formed. You must also control the nitrogen and oxygen levels. Powder preparation is done mainly using the atomization technique. This powder is easily oxidized due to its large specific area. This index is required by customers for special applications such as aerospace. The superalloy and titanium powder oxygen contents are 0.007%-0.013%. The powder oxygen content in stainless steel is 0.010% to 0.025%.

2. Fluidity in powder and low density

Fluidity affects both the uniformity and stability of powder feeding. Powder morphology, bulk density and distribution of particle sizes all influence the fluidity. The fluidity of powder is affected by how regular and small the size distribution. Fluidity increases as a function of particle density and relative density. The fluidity of powder is affected by how water and gases are absorbed on the surface of the particles.

3. Powder particle size distribution

The requirements of powder size distribution are different depending on the 3D printing process and equipment. The most common powder size for 3D metal printing is between 15-53mm (fine powder), and 53-105mm (coarse or coarse powder). The different types of energy source used by metal printers can affect the choice of size and shape for metal powder particles. Because of the fine focal spot that melts fine powder, printers using laser energy are best suited for using 15-53mm. A powder-laying printer using electron beam is more suitable to melting coarse powder. The printer can be used for 53 to 105mm of coarse powder. As consumables for coaxial feeder printers, it can be used with powders of particle sizes between 105 to 150mm.

4. Powder morphology

It is important to consider the method used for making powder. Powder particles that are made of metal gas or molten fluid tend to be cylindrical. But powders made of metal solid are usually more irregularly shaped. Aqueous solution electrolysis powder is mainly dendritic. In general, higher sphericity means better fluidity for powder. This makes it simpler to feed and lay powder during 3D printing.

Supplier of Metal Powder for 3D Printing

Mis-asia Technology Co. Ltd., (Mis-asia), is a reliable global supplier and manufacturer that produces super-high-quality chemicals. This includes silicon powder, nitride & graphite powders as well as zinc sulfide powders, calcium nitride, and 3D printing powders.

Send us an enquiry if you’re looking for high quality 3D printing powder. (brad@ihpa.net)

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