Additive Manufacturing Strategies

InssTek Offers Specialized 3D Printer for Metallurgical Research

ST Medical Devices

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InssTek is known for its Direct Metal Tooling, or DMT, 3D printing technology, which is a type of Directed Energy Deposition. Metal powder is fed continuously into a 3D printer and melted by a high-powered laser, then allowed to solidify again. It allows for multimaterial 3D printing as well as 3D printing of complex parts like those with conformal channels. It can also be used to repair damaged products even without the original CAD file, and results in excellent mechanical properties.

InssTek’s 3D printers are used for both manufacturing and repair, and, in one recent case, material science. The company shares with us that its MX-450 metal 3D printer was recently delivered to a renowned metal research institute in Germany, having been specifically designed for the 3D printing of experimental metal alloys in metallurgical research. It’s equipped with a 1000-watt Ytterbium fiber laser. Its short wavelength, combined with InssTek’s closed loop feedback control, which adjusts the laser power up to 200 times per second to monitor melt pool conditions, allows for the 3D printing of a perfectly homogeneous structure.

The MX-450 features hermetically sealed machine housing with an integrated gas purification system, ensuring a controlled inert gas atmosphere with a residual oxygen level of 10 ppm and allowing the use of even reactive and potentially dangerous metal powders like pure nickel. It also has a 180° tilting and turning table that allows for the 3D printing of complex structures without any support. It’s large, too – the table diameter is ∅320 mm with a maximum horizontal load of 150 mm and an integrated, heatable ceramic plate that reaches up to 800ºC.

This particular 3D printer also features a powder feeding system with four powder hoppers. Each one can easily be removed, filled with up to 3kg of powder and then reattached. Included are fine dosing rods that can dose the powder flow individually with an accuracy of 0.1 g/min. for each hopper, which is individually controllable. Therefore, four different powders can be fed into the hoppers and mixed to create a new alloy. The mixing ratios are changeable even during a running operation.

The different powder streams are thoroughly mixed in two mixing chambers before flowing through the nozzle and into the melt pool. A small convection in the melt pool ensures that everything is well mixed, which is critical for creep tests.

The MX-450 is designed to use a variety of metal powders, including titanium, nickel, aluminum, and iron. It’s best suited to spherically shaped powders with a grain size between 45 and 150 microns.

InssTek is based in South Korea and offers manufacturing, remodeling and repair services, along with several 3D printers equipped with DMT technology. In addition to its standard 3D printer models, it also offers custom 3D printers for specific applications. You can contact the company here.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Images: InssTek]

 

 

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