Prototype Projects’ managing director, Justin Pringle, talks about a metal 3D printing masterclass he attended in Belgium in February 2019…
I recently took a 2-day masterclass course hosted by Materialise, a 3D Printing software company, on the subject of 3D Printing with metals. The course is aimed at people who don’t have a system yet or who have recently taken delivery and require additional support on how to plan a print that will have a high probability of printing first time.
So, as we fall into the don’t have a system yet category, why did I do the course?
As a service provider of 3D Printing, we cover most of the main processes required for plastics, SLA, SLS, FDM (filament) and PolyJet, so to most it seems only natural that we would or should be into metals as well. But… and it’s a big but… the issue is that most people don’t know much about 3D Printing with metals, including us, and therefore assume that it’s the same as the other 3D printing methods, just with metals.
There are an awful lot of factors to consider when printing with metals. Most important of all considerations is whether the part been design for the process, or at least been consider for it. In most cases the answer is no.
Often, people don’t know how to design a part for metal printing because the knowledge is not out there – yet. Yes, it is being used more and more but mainly by companies that have been developing their products for the process, such as Aerospace and Automotive (F1) as well as many universities that are carrying out research projects for companies, but this is not mainstream.
So, to go back to my first question, why did I do the course?
The answer is so that we can learn how to consider the process/part relationship and advise clients accordingly. This way we can identify if our clients’ needs warrant the high investment costs of a Metal 3D Printing system, so that they can benefit from designing a part that should be 3D Printed in metal because it brings a benefit to them, be that a cost, time, weight or design benefit.
Ready to start your next project?
Talk to us about your next prototype project on 01763 249760 – whether it’s plastic or metal. We offer next day dispatch for SLS, SLA, FDM and PolyJet parts. We can advise you on your choice of prototyping technology and can also help you optimise your designs for prototyping.