3D Metal Printing Post-Processing Technology

Electro-Ablation

We’ve developed and patented a disruptive innovation to post-processing that delivers high-speed, part selectivity and zero contamination across a broad range of materials.

The technology takes a traditional approach to surface finishing – electropolishing, and supercharges it by applying high current density in a controlled manner to the workpiece. This results in a rapid removal of material from the metal by a process known as “electro-ablation”. In a practical sense this means you can direct your polishing to a particular part of the workpiece or in an alternative implementation polish the whole part.

3D Printing Ready

While the Electro-Ablation technique has applications across a broad range of subtractive technologies, it is particularly suited to 3D metal printing.

The benefits of 3D printing are well known. What is less well known are the many challenges associated with finishing a 3D workpiece;

  • Base plate removal
  • Support removal
  • Residual metal powder clean-up
  • Final surface polish

This often means that 3D metal printed part can take minutes to print and hours to finish! By using 3DM surface finishing technology in their workflow customers will be able to dramatically change the efficiency of their process.

Applications

Rocket Parts

Few industries have been disrupted by 3D metal printing as comprehensively as Rocket Manufacture.

3D printing has been able to reduce the number of parts in a traditional rocket design by orders of magnitude. This coupled with the rapid turnaround times for part iteration has lead to significant acceleration in this space. Companies like Relativity and … have raised Billions of dollars in this field.

While the technology development in this space has been substantial they are constrained by the limitations of traditional finishing methods. Small complex parts can be hard to access using traditional methods. Larger components provide a different challenge of finding solutions that can deal with the large surfaces and fine tolerances required.

3DM has the ideal solution in this space, capable of accessing and finishing the fine structured parts while flexible and scalable to adapt to largest elements. 3DM has been working with suppliers in this space to demonstrate the capability of its technology on a range of supplied samples. If you’d like to know more about how we can help with your application, please get in touch.

Rocket Inconel

Medical / Dental

3D metal printing is a technology with the potential to transform patient’s experience and outcomes.

Utilising the latest state of the art scanning technologies to create accurate data to be printed with the highest precision. This technique makes it possible to produce quality, complex anatomical reconstructions within days to meet the requirements of surgeries and procedures.

Once this advanced digital process reaches the finishing stage it reverts to a manual execution with all the associated limitations. In a typical high volume Cobalt Chrome digital dental laboratory this requires multiple full time roles just to finish the part. A significant bottle neck in an otherwise streamlined process. 3DM technology can reduce this demand for manual labour by up to 95%.

Studies done on implants used in reconstruction of maxillofacial defects and dentistry indicate that the ability to create complex design in biocompatible titanium with surface roughness is believed to deliver better osseointegration compared with smooth surfaces. Being able to tune surface roughness in a controlled manner with the right polishing technique can have huge benefits for patients and surgeons.

3DM is working closely with key industry suppliers to demonstrate the value of its technology in this space. If you’d like to know more about this work, please get in touch.

Formula 1

The radiators and heat exchangers of a Formula 1 car are completely bespoke to each installation, and are optimized through component design to provide the best balance of heat rejection, fluid pressure drop, aerodynamic characterization, and minimization weight.

This makes them an ideal candidate for 3D metal printing. A modern Formula 1 car can have up to 100 separate 3D printed parts.

The post-processing of these parts can be particularly challenging because of their complex geometry. 3DM surface finishing is currently working in partnership with suppliers in this space to improve surface finishing and ultimately performance . Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about our capabilities in this space.