APMM Community Forum : Materials
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 Subject : Re:Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 05/06/2019 02:05:39 AM 
Rick Montzka
Posts: 3
Location
Terry,

All we need to do is get Josef Prusa on the metal 3D printing case. He conquered FFF with the i3 MK series printers. He just released the SL1, an DLP based machine for $2000 less than the price of Formlabs Form 3. C'mon Joe take down the metal printing industry next! :-) If you missed the announcement, below are the links for the SL1 and the Form 3. The $10,000 Form 3L is approaching the build size of a CR-10.

https://www.prusa3d.com/original-prusa-sl1/
https://formlabs.com/store/form-3/

Rick.
Last Edited On: 05/06/2019 02:08:17 AM By Rick Montzka
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 05/06/2019 01:46:08 AM 
Rick Montzka
Posts: 3
Location
Greetings All!

I went to AMUG 2019 a few weeks ago and saw a presentation from a company called "The Virtual Foundry". They have a process to create metal prints using open filament 3D printers. I have ordered and received copper and bronze filament from them and plan on using it to create a simple mold to test in an industrial injection molding machine. (I'm a teacher and the end of the school year is rapidly approaching, so it is more likely I will try their product during the summer.) The problem with any of the steel filament is the sintering environment. It should be sintered in a vacuum or inert gas environment to prevent oxygen from getting into the metal. From their instructions, Copper and Bronze are more forgiving and can be sintered in a normal kiln. Below is a link to their web site.

https://www.thevirtualfoundry.com/

I'm expecting somewhat of a failure in the injection molding machine, but failure is part of learning. It will tell me what not to do next time. What I am excited about is the natural cooling cavity formed by Slic3r fill patterns like "Line". Likewise, I'm excited about going from idea to molded part in less than three days. Sintering would be the majority of that time. (The shortest path takes about 8 hours.) The shrink rate they claim is 7%. My plan is to just ask Slic3r to increase the scale of the STL by 1.07527. When decreased by 7% (multiply by 0.93) that should end up close to 100%. My source for this information is below:

https://www.thevirtualfoundry.com/help

Aluminum is the most expensive on their web site at $470 per kg. Copper is the cheapest at $121 per kg. There are only five materials currently available, but a company representative asked the AMUG attendees what other materials they were interested in. Current materials are Aluminum, Bronze, Copper, High Carbon Iron, and Stainless Steel 316L. TVF recommends adding a product called the FilaWarmer to help with moisture and make filament handling better. It's only $65 so I added it to my order. Prices can be found in their shop:

https://shop.thevirtualfoundry.com/

My full time job is an Engineering CAD Instructor. I make no commission or receive nothing from the company above. I, like all of you reading this post, am in search of an affordable way to make metal prints for less than $50,000. The closest competing product I was able to find at AMUG 2019 was a Desktop Metal Studio system for about $200,000. The next closest machine that used metal powder (and amazing PPE) was $260,000. The entire equipment budget for every program at our college on two campuses is about $800,000. I'm not about to ask nearly every program in the college to forgo some part or all of their equipment budget just for my program. About once every ten years I make a request for a $50,000 equipment budget. By keeping the frequency of asking low, it is more likely I will receive the budget.

Sorry about the long detailed post. It's just what I do...

Rick.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 11/19/2018 09:56:15 PM 
TERRY WELLMAN
Posts: 165
Location: State of Confusion
If recent democratization of SLA, DLP, and FDM type printers is any indication, we'll probably see the same thing happen with metal 3D printers sometime down the road.
I suspect that we'll see major price reductions in five years time. Yes, an eternity for some but it's coming.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 11/19/2018 08:38:22 PM 
Paul
Posts: 44
Location
It is a sad day, as I have to report that we have given up on the Essentium 316LX. At least, that is, in regard to printing on our Creality 10s. We could never get enough dependability, even with the upgrades, to warrant it's repeated use. Essentium is going to market soon with their own printing system (printer) that should be able to create viable raw prints. The cost for that system has been hinted at the $120k mark. For that reason, we'll investigate a Metal X printer.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 09/18/2018 04:21:48 PM 
Paul
Posts: 44
Location
Update on the Essentium 316LX metal filament!!
Still without a successful build. But, that is due to the upgrades that we are making to the printer.
Jill - Yes, we do have cool spots and inadequate temperature control. We're upgrading the bed heater and controls. Most likely will build an enclosure before attempting to print again.
I have been shown some very good samples from Essential in the meantime. It should be noted, though, that the tolerances vary (significantly depending on your precision needs). The process is best for near-net parts to be machine finished... if accuracy is your priority. Outside of that, consider the standard desk-top printer tolerances.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 09/18/2018 04:08:06 PM 
TERRY WELLMAN
Posts: 165
Location: State of Confusion
Hi Paul, Any new developments on testing with this new material?
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 08/17/2018 12:26:46 PM 
Jill Kenik
Posts: 235
Location
I'm interested in your research as well Paul. I'm running several pro-sumer FDM printers and have found some materials are really particular as to environmental surroundings. Most that require higher extrusion temperatures I run closed. Fortunately its only take a minute to snap my panels on and off. Even closed the surrounding environment impacts the print quality.
Is your heat bed even? I understand on many printers have warm and cool spots on the heat bed. Through testing here, I know even a 1 to 2 degree shift in heat bed temperature can make or break a print and if the heat bed isn't spot on its trouble.
Any chance of failure pictures?
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 08/16/2018 01:24:05 PM 
MICHAEL SCRIBNER
Posts: 186
Location: Overland Park, KS
Thanks for the updates, I'm sure I'm not the only one interested to hear how this pans out.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 08/16/2018 01:11:31 PM 
Paul
Posts: 44
Location
Update on the Essentium 316LX metal filament!!

No successful raw build yet.
We've been back an forth several times with the engineers at BASF, trying to figure out the settings. Just can't seem to get it dialed in. There are some possible continued issues with the the heating consistency on the Creality's heated bed. We're attempting another modification. Another issue may be in the open air build volume. We may have to move to a closed system.

I still feel that there are benefits to the ultimate solution of commercial available metal filaments.

More to come. Stay tuned.
 Subject : Re:Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 06/28/2018 08:42:14 PM 
Paul
Posts: 44
Location
First answer: The hot end stock range is actually sufficient for the filament, as it's a metal powder infused carrier. They won't give me the specific make-up yet. It's only the stock bed heater range that is just on the edge of capability. We can print. We're just looking to optimize.

Second answer: It's a stainless filament.

Third Answer: Shrinkage is in the x-y and the z, but not uniform due to the layering of the FDM process. Again, their not giving up much information right now, but I'm fine with beta-pigging.
 Subject : Re:Metal Filament?!?.. 06/28/2018 08:31:49 PM 
TERRY WELLMAN
Posts: 165
Location: State of Confusion
This is generating many questions. I'm familiar with the CR-10. So I'll be interested in knowing what mods were required. Being that you're testing a metal filament, I suspect that temperature of the hot end will need to be increase significantly. The same would go for the bed.

Can I ask what the composition of the filament is? Aluminum, steel, stainless? That would give an idea of what temps are required.

Additionally, is shrinkange an overall percentage or is it more or less along different axes or thicknesses?

Very interesting!
 Subject : Metal Filament?!?.. 06/28/2018 08:20:15 PM 
Paul
Posts: 44
Location
Yes. It's true.
I'm currently testing some metal filament that is being developed through a collaborative effort with BASF and Essentium. I stumbled across this material on a small display, at the back of a booth, during the recent 2018 Rapid conference. The material is not on the market yet, but I convinced them to let me sample a 3kg spool of it and report all of our findings. We're currently modifying a Creality CR-10s to run it through. The material extrudes fine... but we're have issues with the heated bed, so we're upgrading.
Two issues lay ahead. Currently, we have to submit the .stl's to BASF for modification due to shrink factor during the sintering process. Secondly, we have to outsource the prints themselves back to a BASF subsidiary for the sintering itself.
If all goes well, we'll in-house the tech to complete the entire process.
More to come. Stay tuned!!
 
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