3Diligent ProdEX metal 3D printing services include a range of options, including powder bed fusion, binder jetting, extrusion, directed energy deposition, and cold spray.
Each of these processes leverage a different approach toward creating tangible parts from CAD geometries. While historically plastics have represented the greatest volume of parts produced via 3D printing, metal printing has come on strong in recent years due to its ability to meet the demands of many functional applications. The underlying durability of metal parts opens the door to applications that polymer printing can’t touch. This has led to adoption from industries including medical, aerospace, industrial, consumer, energy, and tech.
These various additive manufacturing processes enable an endless variety of finished shapes and geometries. This includes the unique ability to produce internal features and complicated passages that would otherwise be impossible with casting, machining, or metal injection molding.
ProdEX is your sourcing solution for all forms of metal 3D Printing. Leveraging the power of software built on top of our Vulcury Industry 4.0 software platform and a global network of manufacturing partners and facilities, we are able to deliver thousands of manufacturing solution sets that would otherwise be impossible. This goes back to the earliest days of our company, when we set out to accelerate innovation by democratizing access to the world’s most cutting-edge rapid-manufacturing technologies—on demand.
In our secure portal, you can submit an RFQ and we will bid to complete your project leveraging our proprietary software and extensive network of qualified manufacturers. With a range of digital-manufacturing solutions including 3D printing, CNC machining, casting, and injection molding and facilities around the globe, 3Diligent can support you from one-off prototypes and replacement parts through bridge production all the way to mass production runs.
Using a .step or .stl file, upload your design to the 3Diligent ProdEX procurement system. The system then processes the design along with your material and equipment selections to generate a quote for your metal 3D printing project. 3Diligent offers a wide range of metal materials, but generally speaking, any metal that can be atomized (reduced to powder form) is a candidate for use in 3D printing processes. This includes aluminum, aluminum alloys, nickel-based alloys, tool steel, stainless steel, copper, cobalt chrome, titanium, and tungsten.
ProdEX has supported customers across the medical, aerospace, industrial, automotive, energy, consumer, and design industries. Using metal materials, these industries are prototyping complicated, critical parts for a fraction of the costs associated with traditional manufacturing. What’s more, 3D printing allows for individual customization—no more one size fits all.
Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) describes a subset of metal additive processes, whereby a focused laser beam selectively melts metal powder. This is done repeatedly in a layer-wise fashion until the end geometry is achieved. Directed by a 3D CAD drawing, the laser selectively melts the material to create highly complex and/or particularly delicate structures.
Under the Laser Powder Bed Fusion umbrella are a collection of sometimes better known branded processes, such as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) from EOS, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) from SLM Solutions, LaserCUSING from Concept Laser (now part of GE), and a variety of others.
Laser Powder Bed Fusion systems are particularly well suited to complex geometries and high precision parts. If a geometry is otherwise impossible, LPBF is oftentimes the technology that makes it possible. With that being said, the process can be expensive and as a result, it performs best when parts have been designed with the process in mind.
Interested in Laser Powder Bed Fusion printing? Sign up and submit an RFQ.
Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is another type of metal additive manufacturing (a.k.a. metal 3D printing) used to create metal parts.
In the EBM process, powdered metal is laid down one layer at a time in a powder bed within a heated vacuum chamber and fused together using heat generated by an electron beam. Electron beam additive manufacturing reduces time and costs associated with traditional approaches, such as forging and casting. EBM provides a faster deposition rate than laser powder bed systems (by as much as 10×) while remaining capable of achieving many of the same geometries (and sometimes others that laser powder bed cannot achieve).
If you are interested in obtaining manufactured components using the electron beam melting (EBM) process, click the button to submit an RFQ.
The Binder Jetting 3D Printing process adheres a binding agent to metal powder in the desired shape on each layer of the print. After unused metal powder is removed, the printed “green part(s)” receive heat treatment in a post processing phase. During this sintering step, the binding agent sinters the metal powder together. There are two primary types of binder jetting – full sinter and infiltrated. ProdEX offers both.
Metal extrusion 3D Printing is similar to other extrusion printing technologies that have been popularized by desktop 3D Printing. In this process, parts are built layer by layer by a nozzle that extrudes a mixture of adhesive and metal powder from the print head. Formed without a powder print bed, these parts often require support structures to strengthen any overhangs in the part design during the printing and subsequent sintering process. Extrusion processes can achieve fast prints times and certain economic advantages, particularly in their ability to process materials that require less processing than powder bed systems.
ProdEX offers metal extrusion 3D Printing in a variety of alloys. Request a quote today.
The directed energy deposition process builds up a part layer-by-layer, or sometimes onto an existing part to add a new structure. A laser typically creates a melt pool from jetted powdered metal along the path of a machine tool arm. The continued addition of metal to the locally molten pool gives this 3D Printing process the advantage of not only building new prints or adding to existing ones, but also repairing damaged parts. Directed energy deposition systems go well with large parts, and can be paired with CNC machine processes in the same manufacturing cell for creating higher tolerance parts.
Directed Energy Deposition systems are offered through the ProdEX service. Submit your part for quote today.
We worked with 3Diligent on a urethane casting project. The breadth of materials and services they offered, including flame retardant and color options, made them a great partner on this program. We were very satisfied with the experience.
The evolution from prototyping to production is different for every project, calling for different machines, materials, and investments every step of the way. No provider can offer everything you could need under a single roof, especially in the rapidly evolving space of digital manufacturing—and when companies try, it makes even the most basic jobs exorbitantly expensive.
That’s where 3Diligent’s ProdEX service has been designed to be different. Using the power of cloud computing, ProdEX leverages a global network of qualified manufacturers to complete custom manufacturing projects on demand.