The American company 3D Systems offers two new metal-powder materials for its selective laser sintering (DMP/DMLS) 3D printers – high-strength aluminum magnesium-scandium alloy Scalmalloy and cobalt-free maraging steel M789.
The Scalmalloy aluminum alloy was developed specifically for additive manufacturing applications by APWorks, a division of Airbus. This material combines high strength with excellent flexibility. It is also well machinable and is considered the strongest aluminum alloy in the additive manufacturing arsenal. 3D Systems positions Scalmalloy as something that has the strength between that of aluminum alloy AlSi10Mg and titanium TiGr23, traditionally used in castings.
With a tensile strength of 520 MPa and a yield strength of 480 MPa, Scalmalloy is designed for 3D printing lightweight high-strength loaded parts, exhibiting significantly higher strength characteristics than AlSi10Mg. 3D Systems has prepared a set of optimal parameters for working with this alloy on Factory 350 and Flex 350 laser sintering 3D printers.
Dr. Michael Shepard, Vice President of the aerospace and defense segment of 3D Systems, commented: “Scalmalloy has a very attractive strength-to-weight ratio and is more amenable to 3D printing than many conventional high-strength Aluminum alloys. These performance attributes make it ideal for aerospace applications and we are excited to see how our customers will use 3D printed Scalmalloy components to continue to push the envelope with their innovation.” He added that adding this material to the company’s range of alloys will be an important step forward for 3D printing in aerospace.
M789 is a special grade of maraging steel authored by Böhler Edelstahl, a metallurgical company that features no cobalt alloying additives. The powder is certified for use with DMP Flex, Factory 350, and ProX DMP 320 3D printers. The material can be used in additive manufacturing of mold tooling as well as parts for the automotive, aerospace, and energy industries.
The M789 steel is designed primarily for 3D printing high-strength tooling and tools with high corrosion resistance, such as molds with integrated cooling channels. The absence of cobalt increases environmental compatibility and the hardness can be improved by heat treatment to 52 Rockwell (HRC).
If you’re looking to print your own metal-like parts, but don’t want to stretch your budget, consider composite 3D printing (https://top3dshop.com/blog/continuous-composite-3d-printing) with carbon fiber. This technology allows printing parts that are 2 times lighter and stronger than aluminum.