ExOne Adds Iron and Tungsten to its 3D Printing Material Offerings
(DesignNews) The range of metals that can be 3D printed is increasing quickly. Industrial 3D printer supplier ExOne has added iron infiltrated with bronze, and bonded tungsten, to the range of metal and ceramic powders that can be used with its multi-material M-Flex machines. The company’s internal Material Applications Laboratory is currently working on several other materials in different stages of development. These include alumina, silicon carbide, chromite, titanium, graphite, zirconia, inconel, aluminum, tool steel, and magnesium.
One of the main reasons the company has seen demand for using iron to 3D print parts instead of its existing stainless steel is its lower cost. Iron costs about 25 percent as much as stainless steel. The cost ratio of materials to total part cost also depends on part size: When making parts smaller than the size of the human hand, materials cost is only about 10 to 15 percent of total part cost.
ExOne is also offering two new binders, sodium silicate and phenolic. Phenolic binder is used with ceramic sand for 3D printing molds and cores, used in the sand molding and casting industry. Phenolic creates a higher strength mold or core, allows higher heat alloys to be cast, and reduces the amount of expansion of the mold or core, improving casting quality. Customers in the hydraulic equipment, heavy equipment, and pump industries, as well as aviation and automotive, requested this new binder material. The sodium silicate binder is a greener alternative to furan, reducing fumes and gas during casting.