Desktop Metal has announced that it has qualified the use of 316L stainless steel for the Shop System™, the world’s first metal binder jetting system designed for machine shops. With an expanded materials portfolio, users can now leverage affordable, high-quality binder jetting technology to print end-use parts in 316L stainless steel with throughput, print quality, and productivity unattainable via legacy additive manufacturing processes.
Known for its corrosion resistance, high ductility, and excellent mechanical properties at extreme temperatures, 316L is an austenitic stainless steel well-suited for demanding environments and applications, such as parts exposed to marine, pharmaceutical, or petrochemical processing, food preparation equipment, medical devices, surgical tooling, and consumer products such as jewelry.
“The launch of 316L for the Shop System is a part of an aggressive and extensive materials roadmap to broaden our AM 2.0 portfolio and address a rapidly expanding set of use cases for our print platforms,” said Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal. “We are fully focused on developing opportunities for our customers to produce parts competitively with conventional manufacturing, and we are excited to be able to extend our binder jetting technology to meet this need and address key existing and emerging killer applications for 316L in the market.”
316L Stainless Steel – Key Applications
The Desktop Metal materials science team has validated that 316L stainless steel printed and sintered using the Shop System meets MPIF 35 standards set by the Metal Powder Industries Federation.
Examples of key use cases include:
Bulb NozzleCustom spray nozzles are often used in chemical processing. With conventional manufacturing methods, such nozzles would typically be cast followed by extensive secondary machining on a five-axis CNC. 316L is an essential material for this part because of its excellent material properties, even at elevated working temperatures and while spraying corrosive fluids. 3D printing in 316L on the Shop System can produce the entire order of several hundred nozzles in less than a week with only one secondary thread-tapping operation required, reducing lead times and manufacturing process complexity.
A bezel is the main component that houses the dial and movement within a watch. With the Shop System, multiple different watch bezel models can be printed in each build, enabling mass customization with no tooling required and minimal lead times. For consumer products applications such as this bezel, 316L is an ideal material since it allows for excellent corrosion resistance while maintaining the high strength.
Medical Device Closure
Assembly closures can be used to latch and hold medical device components in place. CNC machining these closures would be challenging given the miniscule, precise geometries, while metal injection molding (MIM) would require large investments and lead times for tooling, difficult to justify given the mid-volume requirements for the component. The Shop System can print up to 10,000 medical device closures in a week, without any tooling costs and without the extensive labor costs and time that machining would require. 316L is an ideal material for medical components such as this closure, because of its corrosion resistance, which makes it easy to clean and sterilize.
“Wall Colmonoy is excited to have 316L as a new option for the Desktop Metal Shop System,” said Michael Shreeve, Business Development Manager, Precision Components, Wall Colmonoy Limited UK, a global powder and components manufacturer. “We look forward to opening up the additive route to many more customers and component types. This will be of particular interest to our customers as we support them with maintaining supply chains across a wide range of industry sectors, such as petrochemical, power generation, automotive, aerospace and more. As we build upon our existing expertise with wear-resistant alloys such as Colmonoy® and Wallex®, 316L on the Shop System will be a welcome addition to our additive manufacturing portfolio of materials.”
“Availability of 316L stainless steel on the Shop System is excellent news, both for us and our customers,” said Patrick Chouvet, CEO of EAC Metal Ornaments, a renowned French-based metallic ornament manufacturer of worldwide designer collections in footwear, leather goods, apparel and cosmetics. “Some of our customers and applications require the excellent corrosion resistance the steel offers, and it is particularly well suited to the polishing and plating processes we use for luxury goods.”