Farsoon and Next Chapter Manufacturing recently addressed an issue regarding the use of H13 tool steel with DMLS additive manufacturing.

Farsoon is known for its expertise in polymer laser sintering. The company has worked on several projects with other big names of the industry including Oerlikon, Airbus and even Autodesk & Arkema.

Next Chapter Manufacturing on the other hand, specializes in the production of tooling for the plastics industry.

Both partners therefore bring their respective expertise in a project that consists in developing advanced process parameters to produce robust H13 tooling using Laser Sintering process.

Acknowledged for its high resistance to compression, as well as thermal shock and abrasion characteristics, H3 is a tool steel used for strong tooling applications. Its applications range from die casting, extrusion dies to injection mold components.

However, the only thing is that this tool steel integrates a high rate of carbon which makes it complex to process with standard Metal Laser Sintering parameters. Moreover, once vaporized, the carbon can contaminate the powder surface during the welding process, which results in internal flaws, porosity and thermal cracks.

So, how did they address this issue?

Both teams decided to address this issue by producing 4 lifters, tools used for cooling and separating plastic parts from the core when leveraging injection moulding.

For the production of one lifter, they have added an /16-inch NPT conformal water circuit design to its geometry. Thereafter, they produced the tool on the Farsoon FS271M platform.

Once installed in Next Chapter Manufacturing’s factory system, the lifter helps enhance the cooling process thanks to its new conformal design and remove the warpage in the finished part.

The optimized lifters improved production volume with the original factory settings, reducing the cycle time from 48 seconds to only 30 seconds, and achieving an annual savings of $100,000.
We decided to partner with Farsoon Technologies because its system is open, which means we can develop specific processes that enable us to print H13 and other tool steels efficiently”, explains Jason Murphy, president of Next Chapter Manufacturing, “This open parameter system also enables us to do test builds and refine our process to improve robustness and speed further. The technology of the Farsoon machine gives designers a significant amount of additional freedom to provide the most efficient designs for additive manufacturing, which other machines do not offer.”

Farsoon has been conducting several tests to developing other processing parameters (laser power, scanning strategies and many more) for parts using H13. The company is definitely ready to provide a wide range of lightweight, functional and customized metal 3D printing material solutions across demanding industries.

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