iMaterialise already print in steel, titanium and wood, and now they also print in aluminum! The new material is lightweight and strong. 3D printed aluminum is known to be great for producing strong, light and precise end-use metal parts.
Aluminum can be used a variety of objects including functional parts, spare parts and jewelry. 3D printed aluminum has more of a matte finish and features slightly rougher surfaces than traditionally milled aluminum.
The technique used to build your design with aluminum is direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). This means that a fine metal powder is used to build your model layer by layer.
How does it work?
The roller of the 3D printer spreads out a very fine layer of aluminum powder. A laser beam then sinters and solidifies the areas that are part of your design. After this, a new layer of powder is rolled out and sintered at the correct spots. Once the process is done, your intact model is lifted from the powder bed. If your model needs support structures to keep the model structurally sound or to support it while the 3D printer builds it, the aluminum support structures will be manually removed after the printing process.
Benefits of aluminum
- Aluminum can be printed in very small levels of detail (as small as 0.25mm).
- For aluminum, the minimum wall thickness you can use is only 0.5 mm for small surfaces! If you plan on making larger sections, the wall thickness should be increased to 1 mm.
- iMaterialise can print your object in aluminum up to a maximum size of 250 x 250 x 295 mm.
- The technology used for 3D printing aluminum delivers a high dimensional accuracy. The general tolerance of the material iMaterialise offers is 2%.
Fried Vancraen is the CEO and founder of Belgium based company Materialise.
i.materialise believes that people have an inherent need to express themselves, more than ever before, in this world where standardization has become the rule. Therefore i.materialise offers all people with an eye for design and a head full of ideas the possibility to turn these ideas into 3D reality.
i.Materialise empowers them to create designs that enrich their life and to share their sense of beauty with the people around them, by adding unique touches to their environment, by creating a truly personal gift for the ones they love, by taking the opportunity to crystallize ideas they can truly be proud of.