316L stainless steel
Characterized by its corrosion resistance and good
mechanical properties at both high and low temperatures,
316L is a fully austenitic stainless steel—now available,
to print with the Desktop Metal Studio System.
ABOUT THE MATERIAL
316L is a molybdenum-bearing, fully-austenitic stainless steel. It’s known for its excellent corrosion resistance—for example, it’s resistance to pitting corrosion—and mechanical properties at both high and low temperatures. 316L is a common material used in a wide variety of applications, including Chemical and petrochemical processing, Food processing, Laboratory equipment, Medical devices, Marine, Jewelry, Power generation, Petroleum refining, Water treatment, Pulp, and paper manufacturing.
BMD™ + 316L
The ability to use 316L with the Studio System’s extrusion-based metal 3D printing process (Bound Metal Deposition™ or BMD™) makes it easy for designers and engineers to print 316L parts on-demand in their office or lab. Teams can iterate quickly on prototype parts and achieve complex geometries that have not been possible with traditional manufacturing methods. These new capabilities, as well as a cost-effective solution for printing parts in low volume (think: custom or replacement parts), are especially important for applications requiring 316L.
APPLICATION EXAMPLE #1
Fuel nozzle by John Zink Hamworthy Combustion®
About the part: The UHT nozzle is a fuel atomizer used with a medium, such as steam or air. It is typically installed in an HXG marine burner which is used on steam propulsion boilers on LNG tankers. The purpose of the atomizer is to improve low load burner performance. This allows the burner to run on a lower fuel throughput, reducing operational costs when the vessel is maneuvering.
The nozzle features complex internal channels that optimize particle distribution to render the most effective combustion reaction (burning). These channels are only achievable using AM methods, but laser-based methods can be extremely cost-prohibitive. Office-friendly, extrusion-based metal 3D printing methods make it easy to produce parts with complex geometries, like internal channels, in-house and for a fraction of the cost ($130 with the Studio System vs. $1620 using third-party DMLS).
Why 316L? Due to its excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical properties at high temperatures—like those of a combustion chamber—316L is the most desirable material for the fuel nozzle.
APPLICATION EXAMPLE #2
Impeller for harsh environments
About the part: An essential component of pumps, impellers control the pressures of the pump and must be designed for the specific application. Impellers require geometrically complex vanes that are designed specifically for the fluid being moved through the pump. These vanes are expensive and difficult to manufacture—requiring access to expensive capital equipment and skilled laborers.
With the ability to print 316L parts in-house, design teams can now produce functional prototypes quickly using the same metal material required for the final part. The cost of printing the impeller with the Studio System is about $70/part, compared to nearly $1000/part with third-party DMLS.
Why 316L? Impellers used in demanding environments—like those of salt water pumps, cryogenic pumps, and chemical pumps—rely on its corrosion resistance and mechanical properties at a range of temperatures. This makes 316L critical for these applications.
APPLICATION EXAMPLE #3
Medical finger splint
About the part: Finger splints are a common medical accessory used to immobilize or limit the range of motion of injured limbs. Typically, splints are manufactured using plastic injection molding which makes them susceptible to breaking and limits design customization. The ability to print-on-demand makes it easy to produce custom, better-fitting splints—as well as other medical accessories or components—whose size and shape are specific to the person using it.
Why 316L? Metal splints printed with 316L are more durable and have better mechanical properties, as well as stain resistance and an improved aesthetic finish, compared to the plastic alternative.
316L stainless steel is the second material available for printing parts with the Studio System. It is one of the six core materials in active development—including 17-4PH (available now), Inconel 625, H13 tool steel, Copper, and AISI 4140.
KEY APPLICATIONS FOR BMD TECHNOLOGY
An overview of the BMD Technology for functional prototyping,
jigs and fixtures, tooling, and low volume production.
Application #1: Functional prototyping
Whereas plastic 3D printed parts often allow us to test form and fit, metal 3D printing allows you to produce functional prototypes quickly and iterate quickly on the part design. Functional prototyping applications call for parts that adhere to specific thermal and chemical requirements. Some examples of these applications are worm gears, connecting rods, brake calipers and manifolds. And by eliminating lead times, costly complex machining operations, and the need for tooling, product development and time-to-market is accelerated significantly. Expedited fabrication with in-house metal 3D printing allows engineers to explore an iterative design process that includes functional testing—something that is not possible with plastic prototypes.
Application #2: Jigs & fixtures
On a production line, jigs and fixtures have complex geometries and are produced in low volume. Typically, these parts must be made in metal to meet stiffness and strength requirements. Frequent use results in wear, so the ability to produce replacement parts quickly is critical to operational efficiency. These parts must allow for repeatability and meet high tolerances. Metal parts printed with the Studio System meet strength and durability requirements and can be post-processed after sintering to achieve critical dimensions And the nature of the layered BMD printing process is the ability to print assemblies together which is not possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
Application #3: Tooling
Typically, custom tooling applications have parts with complex geometries that are difficult—if not impossible—to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. An example of this is mold cavity inserts with conformal cooling channels that are designed to improve injection mold cycle times and quality of the molded part. In these applications, initial tooling expenses represent a major factor of overall part cost. Often, these high costs make it impossible to use processes such as casting, injection molding, and extrusion for smaller, customized parts. The Studio System builds reliable, highly accurate, durable tools that outperform a plastic equivalent.
Application #4: Low volume production
The Studio System brings the benefits of additive manufacturing into the office, enabling quick, customized parts for low volume production. Traditionally, the cost for producing metal parts in low volume is high—particularly if its geometry requires manufacturing by casting or injection molding. The Studio System results in reduced lead time, and the part costs do not increase based on part complexity, allowing designers to focus on the function of the part rather than limitations of traditional manufacturability.