Aluminium

What is Aluminium

Aluminum (AlSi10Mg) is a light weight metal that can be used in a variety of situations. It is 3D printed from a fine powder form using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Resulting 3D printed objects have a high strength-to-weight ratio. The composition of aluminum offers good resistance to metal fatigue and corrosion.

Aluminum parts are traditionally used in many industrial, aerospace and automotive applications.

Properties

Objects printed in Aluminum offer good strength, hardness and dynamic properties. They demonstrate high thermal and electrical conductivity and are easy to rework.

For more specifications, the table below shows the exact properties of Aluminum.

Printing Method

Direct Metal Laser Sintering, or DMLS, is a 3D printing technique that uses a high-powered laser to print objects layer by layer from a metal powder. Each layer is formed by tracing a pattern in the powder with a laser, which melts and bonds the material together. This is actually very similar to SLS, except that the temperature is high enough to melt the powder, not just sinter it (1500 – 1600 °C). Naturally, this requires a laser with much higher wattage.

When an entire cross-section is traced, the build platform lowers one layer height, and the process continues until the entire part is complete. Any powder that hasn’t been sintered remains in place to support the object that is being made, which eliminates the need for support structures.

Objects printed using DMLS have excellent mechanical properties and the available material range includes materials that are otherwise difficult to process, such as metal superalloys. Due to the high production costs, this technology is not recommended for parts that can be easily manufactured using other methods.

Design Specifications

Thickness & Geometry

The minimum wall thickness for Aluminum is 0.5 mm to ensure self-standing stability. If a wall thickness of less than 0.5 mm is desired, support structures can be used for stability.

Details

Very small levels of detail (as small as 0.25 mm) are printable with DMLS technology.

Included engravings and embossments should optimally have a minimum 0.4 mm line thickness, 0.15 mm depth, and 0.4 mm overall height.

The interlocking or enclosed objects are not well suited for 3D printing with Aluminum. The supports inside will not be able to be removed.