Metal Technology Inc (MTI) is really upping its activity around 3D printing and additive manufacturing recently. The company, which featured in Mike’s story earlier this month, when it contributed to putting a directly 3d printed metal part on a race track for English Racing, has now revealed some insight into its R&D into a new metal alloy for additive manufacturing, specifically space travel applications.
The company has successfully 3D printed coupons in C-103, which is a niobium based alloy containing approximately 10% Hafnium and 1% Titanium. This alloy, which is widely used in space applications because of its excellent formability, cost, weight and reliability has never previously been sintered from a powder form. Thus, MTI is claiming to be the first company to publicly use an additive manufacturing process to produce solids from C-103, which it has achieved in its 3D Systems ProX 300 machine. The 3DS system uses a powerful 500 watt laser and with these initial successful results, MTI plans to go on and develop complex components for Space Primes such as Aerojet Rocketdyne, ATK, Boeing, the European Space Agency, Honeywell, JAXA, Lockheed Martin, Moog, NASA, Orbital Sciences, Pratt & Whitney, Sierra Nevada Corp., SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, UTC Aerospace and others. So, quite a long client list there.
MTI is an ITAR Certified and ISO9001:2008 registered company with a long history in propulsion and space applications. The company has been precision machining, deep draw forming, forging and fabricating in C-103 for years, and can now add industrial 3D printing to this list. According to Steve Smith, MTI’s Director of Sales & Marketing: “This project began in January, 2014 when we decided to pursue additive manufacturing as an additional capability to our operations. It’s a natural evolution of our work with C-103, to provide customers quicker delivery and more complex geometries.”