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How you can Succeed with 3D Printing Steel on a Desktop 3D Printer

The time is right here to discover simple and inexpensive steel 3D printing. 3D printing with actual steel on a desktop 3D printer is now doable utilizing Ultrafuse Steel 3D printing filament from BASF Ahead AM.

Up to date on March 25, 2024



What’s steel 3D printing?

Till lately, 3D printing with steel has been restricted to sintering or powder 3D printing. Primarily, steel powder is sure collectively utilizing excessive powered lasers, after which the components are post-processed in a kiln or forge to supply practically 100% strong steel components. These machines, supplies, and the post-processing wanted to supply components are costly to personal ($100,000+ for entry-level machines), and cost-prohibitive for most of the people. You would simply spend over $1000 for a couple of small components.

Useful Steel 3D Printing Assets

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing has been round for a couple of a long time now and is properly established, however is usually restricted to thermoplastics. Steel Injection Molding (MIM) has been round for some time as properly, and is now a typical manufacturing course of. You’ve virtually definitely used a software or system lately that had MIM parts in it (cordless drill, watch, automotive components and even keys).

Industrial production can be extremely expensive whether you are purchasing entry-level industrial machines and materials or commissioning professionals.

Industrial manufacturing could be extraordinarily costly whether or not you might be buying entry-level industrial machines and supplies or commissioning professionals.

Now the FFF and MIM processes are becoming a member of forces to introduce steel filament to desktop 3D printing. BASF’s Ultrafuse 316L filament is a steel filament that’s particularly designed to be debound and sintered, leaving your printed half practically 100% strong 316 stainless-steel. The very best half about this materials is that it may be printed on nearly any desktop 3D printer, just like the BCN3D Sigmax R19, Ultimaker S5, Pulse, or any 3D printer with the suitable upgrades.

Easily produce functional metal parts straight from your desktop 3D printer.

Simply produce useful steel components straight out of your desktop 3D printer.

What’s Ultrafuse 316L 3D printing filament?

BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel-polymer filament, developed by BASF’s 3D Printing Options crew, produces steel parts in an austenitic stainless-steel kind 316L utilizing customary FFF printer techniques and subsequently an business customary debinding and sintering course of. The fabric itself (in filament type) is over 80% 316L stainless-steel with a base materials that could be a polymer used to bind the fabric collectively through the printing course of. This formulation, mixed with the debinding and sintering course of, leads to full steel austenitic stainless-steel kind 316L 3D printed components which may actually open up doorways to new functions.

Sail full speed ahead towards a new realm of metal 3D printing possibilities using BASF's Ultrafuse 316L filament.

Sail full pace forward in the direction of a brand new realm of steel 3D printing prospects utilizing BASF’s Ultrafuse 316L filament.

Necessary Definitions:

Earlier than we get began with the how-to strategy of printing with steel in your 3D printer, listed here are some phrases you’ll wish to familiarize your self with:

  • Debinding: course of that removes the plastic materials from the inexperienced half earlier than sintering
  • Sintering: course of that turns the powdered steel within the brown half into strong steel by way of warmth
  • Inexperienced Components: printed components that haven’t gone by way of the debinding and sintering course of
  • Brown Components: components after debinding, earlier than sintering. That is when the half is the weakest, due to this fact typically thought of when designing for profitable processing
  • FFF: A way of 3D printing referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication which melts a monofilament to create the half from digital designs
  • MIM: Steel Injection Molding

Who ought to use BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel 3D Printing Filament?

There are a couple of causes chances are you’ll be fascinated about printing with steel utilizing a desktop 3D printer. First, in case you are at present producing steel components, prototyping by way of conventional milling strategies, and have the necessity for low quantity injection molded components, think about using BASF Ultrafuse 316L 3D printing filament.

Second could be in the event you merely want extra power and sturdiness in comparison with your plastic 3D printed components. Transitioning to steel components is now simpler and extra accessible than it ever has been through the use of Ultrafuse 316L in your desktop 3D printer. This materials is particularly designed for producers, small enterprise homeowners, or anybody trying to produce steel parts on a smaller scale with out all of the complexity of standard CNC milling or MIM procedures.

Elevate your prototypes to the next level by diving into metal 3D printing with BASF's Ultrafuse 316L filament.

Elevate your prototypes to the following stage by diving into steel 3D printing with BASF’s Ultrafuse 316L filament.

Designing for Profitable Manufacturing

Let’s take a second to information you thru the essential concerns for succeeding with steel desktop 3D printing.

Together with anisotropic shrinking, there are different design parts that should be thought of for succeeding with desktop steel 3D printing. These suggestions are supposed to supply steerage as a way to succeed early on. As experience progresses, these guidelines could be adjusted on your particular designs and use circumstances.

To produce beautiful accurate parts, follow these tips for successful metal 3D printing.

To supply stunning correct components, observe the following tips for profitable steel 3D printing.

  • Design for 3D Printing – Suppose Additive, Not Subtractive Manufacturing – Design for manufacturing is all the time essential and one thing that’s understood as a primary a part of Engineering. 3D printing isn’t any totally different. Simply as you have got to concentrate on draft angles when designing for injection molding, or tooling radius for milling, 3D printing has its personal set of parameters to think about when designing for that manufacturing technique. Make sure to contemplate this when making an attempt to print your components, typically one thing designed for milling or injection molding doesn’t switch 100% to 3D printing with out some modification.  
  • Components Ought to Be Flat on One Aspect – The printing course of depends on the supplies’ adhesion to the mattress floor (consider it as a datum). To make sure the datum stays true, a flat floor is really helpful. This helps for the half to stick properly to the print mattress in addition to scale back any warping that will happen because the half is cooling on the print mattress.
  • Design with a Excessive Width to Peak Side Ratio – When designing components for sintering, it’s good to think about the power of the half at its weakest state (as a brown half, after debinding). At this stage, the extra secure you can also make the design, the extra doubtless the half is to undergo the sintering course of in tact. For that reason, designs which can be wider than they’re tall (assume pancake as a substitute of a tower) typically have extra success. This isn’t to say you can’t succeed with 3d printing a steel tower, however following this design guideline will produce the very best and most constant outcomes.
  • Design Options to Be Homogeneous – It is a fancy manner of claiming haven’t got drastic variations of half thicknesses. A big mass with delicate options will fail throughout sintering as a result of the time wanted to completely sinter the most important components will deteriorate (overheat) the small options. For that reason, homogeneous design by way of fixed function geometry and thickness needs to be thought of.
  • Keep away from Skinny Partitions – It is a bit redundant if designs are already contemplating function homogeneity, however creating an element with solely skinny partitions is troublesome. The skinny partitions can delaminate through the sintering course of – a minimal thickness of 1.5 mm is an efficient place to start out. Even with this minimal wall thickness, remember to have an honest infill overlap (35% or so) to make sure the wall retains power whereas being processed.
  • Keep away from Overhangs – Due to the debinding and sintering course of, no help materials can be utilized. For greatest outcomes, overhang angles needs to be 50° or steeper. This prevents the fabric from sagging through the sintering course of.
  • Preserve Components Inside 100 x 100 x 100mm Construct Envelope – For greatest outcomes, preserve components inside this construct envelope. You’ll be able to print bigger components, however the bigger the half, the extra doubtless there will likely be failures within the debinding and sintering course of.

Getting ready a Design for Desktop Steel 3D Printing

Components shrink anisotropically within the debinding and sintering course of. Which means they shrink at totally different charges alongside totally different axes. Components should be scaled +120% (+119.82% for extra accuracy) of the required closing dimension in X/Y, and +126% (+126.10% for extra accuracy) of the required closing dimension in Z.

In case you are utilizing MatterControl you may scale your objects pior to printing with the inbuilt scale software. It helps Ultrafuse 316L straight and can make your half precisely the suitable scale for the inexperienced half.

No need to be conscientious of readjusting sizes in the original design. Use MatterControl to easily resize your model for accurate metal 3D printing.

No should be conscientious of readjusting sizes within the authentic design. Use MatterControl to simply resize your mannequin for correct steel 3D printing.

How you can succeed when 3D printing with BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel 3D Printing Filament

So as to print with Ultrafuse 316L filament, your desktop 3D printer will should be outfitted with the right parts

  • Heated mattress able to not less than 100° C
  • Glass mattress with Dimafix mattress adhesive (most popular).
    • You may as well use Kapton tape on a glass mattress, however we discover higher outcomes with Dimafix.
  • Hardened nozzle (most popular).
    • You should use a brass nozzle, however it would should be modified after roughly 1kg of fabric
    • Use a clear nozzle. It’s vital to both use a nozzle devoted to printing BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel 3D Printing Filament or purge the nozzle of as a lot international materials as doable (i.e. PLA, ABS, PETG, and so on.). That is to make sure that no international supplies will trigger your components to blow up and fail through the debind and sintering course of.
Follow these print settings and adjust accordingly for a successful metal 3D printing experience with BASF's Ultrafuse 316L filament.

Comply with these print settings and alter accordingly for a profitable steel 3D printing expertise with BASF’s Ultrafuse 316L filament.

BASF Ultrafuse 316L 3D Printing Filament Settings

  • Beneficial Print Mattress Floor: Dimafix on Glass Mattress
    • Different Choice: Kapton Tape on print mattress (ideally on glass)
  • Beneficial Nozzle: Abrasion Resistant and clear of any filament that is not Ultrafuse 316L
  • Heated Mattress Temperature: 100 – 120°C
  • Hotend Temperature: 215-235°C – By no means to exceed 250°C.
  • No Half Cooling: Layer cooling may cause warping throughout printing
  • Beneficial Layer Peak: 0.10 – 0.25mm [.15 or lower for higher density]
  • Beneficial Velocity: 15 – 40 mm/s
  • Infill: 100% – We advocate both Strains or Concentric sample relying in your geometry. These will provide you with essentially the most uniform and strong infill. Any gaps or voids in your infill might result in failure through the debinding and sintering course of.

It’s critically essential that your first layer is on the correct peak so that every one printed traces are fully linked to 1 one other. We have discovered that Dimafix mattress adhesive supplies the sturdy mattress adhesion crucial for preferrred flat prints. It’s additionally essential that your extruder is correctly calibrated in order that there are not any areas of under-extrusion throughout the half. Gaps and voids may cause failure within the debinding and sintering course of.

Getting ready Inexperienced Components for Processing

It is very important take away any contaminants – oils, fingerprints, mattress adhesives, and so on. as a result of contaminants may cause failure throughout debinding and sintering.

Inexperienced Components printed from Ultrafuse 316L 3D Printing Filament are very simple to clean-up as it’s comparatively smooth. Take away brims, clear up any printing artifacts left from the printing course of. A razor blade, deburring software, and a small file set are really helpful for clean-up. It’s a lot simpler to wash up the inexperienced half than the steel half.

If any warping occurred through the 3D printing course of – now is an efficient time to sand the bottom floor of your half flat. ‘Lapping’ the underside floor may have the half course of by way of the debinding and sintering steps with higher function and dimensional stability.

Lapping is an easy way to increase your chances of a smooth and successful debinding and sintering process.

Lapping is a straightforward solution to enhance your possibilities of a clean and profitable debinding and sintering course of.

How you can Debind and Sinter Ultrafuse 316L 3D Printed Components

Ship to Sintering and Debinding Service Home – There are service homes which can be arrange with all the right instruments and supplies to succeed with Steel Injection Molding, debinding, and sintering. Merely print and clear your half, mail it off, and anticipate it to return in just some days after a scheduled run.

  • BASF 3D Printing Options, with the assistance of their distribution companions, is establishing a community of debinding and sintering companies so customers can ship their printed Ultrafuse 316L inexperienced components out and get them again absolutely processed—all inside an accessible value level. Simply save hundreds of {dollars} on prototypes, steel tooling, and useful steel components by outsourcing these companies.
  • MatterHackers, BASF, and DSH make this outsourcing simple for you with MatterHackers’ BASF Ultrafuse 316L Processing Ticket. No must spend hours of researching for an inexpensive, dependable debinding and sintering firm, negotiating value, and determining which debinding and sintering course of is best for you. A value is prepared for you at checkout and your components are set to be processed with DSH Applied sciences, an expert debinding and sintering service home. With the BASF Ultrafuse 316L Processing Ticket, all it’s essential do is buy this ticket, ship out your components, and obtain your now steel components proper at your door.
  • For particulars on tips on how to put together your printed components for outsource processing, take a look at our “How you can Put together 3D Printed BASF Ultrafuse 316L Components for Debinding and Sintering.”

In-house – Entry the right debinding and sintering industrial-level gear and supplies, which may price as much as a fortune for professionals simply stepping into additive steel manufacturing. Efficiently working these machines would require correct information and explicit talent units.

  • After your components have been cleaned and refined in publish processing, it is now time to alter them from inexperienced components to strong stainless-steel components by way of catalytic debinding and sintering. Catalytic debinding is the method of decomposing the first polymer (the plastic holding the steel powder collectively as a inexperienced half) in a gaseous acid atmosphere⁠ at temperatures within the low tons of (°C). Response merchandise are then burnt in a pure gasoline flame at a lot greater temperatures of above 600 °C and your inexperienced half is now formally a brown half. That is performed inside an enclosed, managed system designed particularly for this whole course of. Debinding is completely required because it prevents your inexperienced half from melting within the furnace through the sintering course of.
  • As soon as the now brown half has completed the debinding course of, subsequent is sintering—the method of turning the leftover powdered steel within the brown half into strong steel by way of warmth. In a specifically designed furnace, temperatures are set proper under the melting temperature of the steel as a way to take away the secondary binder from the brown half. With this binder gone, the steel particles at the moment are in a position to fuse collectively. Out of the furnace, the fabric reaches its closing properties as a strong stainless-steel half.
  • As a result of performing this processing in-house could be extraordinarily pricey for professionals which can be new to debinding and sintering steel 3D components, we’re completely satisfied to supply a extra inexpensive answer by way of MatterHackers’ BASF Ultrafuse 316L Processing Ticket.
Purchase a BASF Ultrafuse 316L Processing Ticket and follow our

Buy a BASF Ultrafuse 316L Processing Ticket and observe our “How you can Put together Ultrafuse 316L Components for Debinding and Sintering” information for a straightforward, fast, and accessible technique of reaching the ultimate strong stainless-steel stage of your Ultrafuse components.

Submit Processing Sintered Components

Sintered components can, usually, be handled like every other 316L Stainless Metal half. When obtained again they’ve a comparatively tough steel floor ending. The components could be polished to a shiny floor, floor for materials removing, and even machined for higher tolerance and fitment. We’ve had nice success with roto tumbling components in an abrasive media to convey out the supplies’ luster.

Grind for material removal, polish in any method you see fit, or machine your parts for higher tolerance features.

Obtain your required aesthetic through your most popular post-processing of selection. Grind for materials removing, polish in any technique you see match, or machine your components for greater tolerance options.

Is 3D printing steel on a desktop 3D printer proper for me?

When you, what you are promoting, or manufacturing course of is trying to quickly create prototype or manufacturing steel components with out spending the normal time and value of machining costly consumables, then desktop 3D printing with BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel 3D Printing Filament is your best option for you. Utilizing this materials on an ordinary desktop 3D printer is a cheap different to typical subtractive strategies or setup and tooling prices of steel injection molding.

With BASF's Ultrafuse 316L 3D Printing Filament, exploration into affordable metal 3D printing options is now much easier and attainable.

With BASF’s Ultrafuse 316L 3D Printing Filament, exploration into inexpensive steel 3D printing choices is now a lot simpler and attainable.


As 3D printing turns into extra extensively obtainable to the typical client, its capabilities and prospects additionally increase. Attainable industrial supplies available on the market such because the BASF Ultrafuse 316L Steel 3D Printing Filament make 3D printing steel extra inexpensive and simpler for any maker keen about superior prototyping. When engineering-grade plastics resembling NylonX and NylonG have happy the early rounds of designing and testing a undertaking, makers can then transfer on to producing steel components for an much more superior 3D printing expertise. Do extra together with your time and creativity if you dive into the world of 3D printing steel.

Conveniently produce metal prototypes straight from home or your company through desktop printers like the Ultimaker S5, Pulse 3D Printer, BCN3D Sigmax and more!

Conveniently produce steel prototypes straight from house or your organization by way of desktop printers just like the Ultimaker S5, Pulse 3D Printer, BCN3D Sigmax and extra!



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