Desktop Metal continues to make great strides in the industry. Its latest milestone? The qualification of 4140 low-alloy steel for use with metal binder jetting systems.
The material is said to be one of the most versatile low-alloy steels. Described as a heat-treatable steel, it serves applications in the automotive, oil and gas, and industrial fields and can enable the production of gears, downhole tool components, couplings, spindles, bolts and nuts, to name a few examples of mechanical parts.
A key example of the potential of this material is seen with a linear pneumatic piston where air pressure is covnerted into rotary motion through a rack and pinion. For this application, 4140 delivers here the required toughness and wear resistance to make it work.
“4140 has been a challenging material for metal binder jetting because of its low alloyed content, tight carbon control requirements, and low ignition energy, which together require advanced binder chemistry, as well as extensive printing and sintering optimization and atmospheric controls for safe processing,” said Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal. “We are excited to be the first to qualify 4140 for metal binder jetting to enable this versatile material for the AM industry. With the speed of the Production System, businesses can now use binder jetting to print complex 4140 parts at competitive costs while maintaining the strength and mechanical properties of traditionally manufactured alternatives. This is a game-changing solution for manufacturers who have been tied to time-consuming and expensive machining and conventional tool-based manufacturing processes.”
It should be noted that the 4140 low-alloy steel has been qualified for the Production System, an industrial manufacturing platform powered by Desktop Metal’s SPJ technology. In a press communication, the manufacturer explains that this platform is made up of two printer models: the P-1, a solution for process development and serial production applications, and the P-50, a large form factor mass production solution for end-use parts, scheduled to begin commercial shipments in the second half of 2021.
Due to the combination of Desktop Metal engineered binders with an open material platform, operators can produce high-performance parts using the same low-cost metal powders used in the Metal Injection Molding (MIM) industry.
This probably explains why the inert processing environment facilitates compatibility with a wide range of materials, including 4140 low-alloy steel as well as other high-performance alloys and even reactive metals, such as aluminum and titanium.
The announcement follows the recent qualification of “Sinterable 6061 Aluminum for Binder Jetting 3D Printing” achieved in collaboration with Uniformity Labs.
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