Desktop Metal Qualifies Titanium for Manufacturing
Desktop Metal commercializes titanium for bound-metal production of high-strength, lightweight components.
August 5, 2021
Desktop Metal has qualified the use of titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V (Ti64) for the Studio System 2, an accessible metal 3D printing platform that offers a way to print high-performance metal parts in low volumes for pre-production and end-use applications. With plans to begin shipping Ti64 next month, Desktop Metal will make the material commercially available for extrusion-based bound metal additive manufacturing technologies.
Ti64 is a commonly used titanium alloy and is characterized by its high tensile strength, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. With a high strength-to-weight ratio, Ti64 is considered an ideal material for high-performance production applications in industries such as aerospace and defense, automotive, and oil and gas. In addition, its biocompatibility makes it desirable in medical applications, such as with surgical devices and implants.
The Studio System 2 produces Ti64 with mechanical properties. Tensile properties include 730 MPa yield strength, 845 MPa tensile strength and 17% elongation. These mechanical properties exceed those set by ASTM F2885-17 standards for metal injection-molded surgical implant applications.
“Titanium has been a challenging material for bound metal 3D printing because it is both extremely reactive in powder form and difficult to sinter,” says Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal.
“3D printing with titanium is incredibly valuable in industries like aerospace because of the material’s ability to support complex and lightweight designs,” says Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Privateer Space, a new satellite company focused on monitoring and cleaning up objects in space. “With the Studio System 2, the team at Privateer Space will be able to achieve the affordability and lightweighting capabilities needed to pave the way for our satellite design and launch. This technology is truly a differentiator in helping companies to accelerate innovations in space and, through the material advancements that Desktop Metal is making, we have an amazing opportunity to collaborate and keep space accessible for future generations.”
With the Studio System 2, Ti64 parts demonstrate mechanical properties and corrosion resistance on a more accessible platform than legacy powder bed fusion 3D printing alternatives. Examples of key uses cases include:
This machine bracket has been designed using a gyroid lattice infill and titanium in place of 17-4PH stainless steel to reduce weight and material while maintaining the required functional strength and stiffness. 3D printing this new design on the Studio System 2 in Ti64 reportedly reduces the part weight by 59%.
Telescope Focus Ring
Small telescope focus rings hold lenses in place on a mobile telescope, which has multiple motors that are used to position and focus the lenses. 3D printing the rings in titanium ensures that all components are lightweight, allowing the use of smaller motors, reducing the wear on the components and the overall cost of the assembly. The Studio System 2 supports printing up to six focus rings in less than 24 hours, which would be ready for installation in days.
A drone coupling is used to fasten two assemblies together on a drone frame. One of the main challenges with drones is battery life, which is predominantly determined by the weight of the drone. Producing the coupling in titanium enables significant weight reduction while maintaining the structural integrity required for the drone frame. The Studio System 2 supports low volume production of this part in quantities of 15 to 25 per week before moving it into mass production, all without any tooling or machining necessary.
Fuel Injector Nozzle
This part features internal channels that can result in enhanced burner performance but would be impossible to create using conventional manufacturing processes. Titanium is a material for this application as the nozzle needs to be able to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures while remaining lightweight. With the Studio System 2, engineers can test many design variations of the nozzle in just days with as many as four versions of the nozzle printed in less than 24 hours.
The Studio System 2—Office-Friendly Metal 3D Printing
The Studio System 2 is an office-friendly metal additive manufacturing system that leverages Desktop Metal’s proprietary Bound Metal Deposition (BMD) technology to produce parts. The two-step process provides a nearly hands-free experience, while eliminating loose powders and dangerous lasers commonly associated with metal 3D printing. Consisting of a printer and furnace, the Studio System 2 simplifies in-house low volume production of a wide range of complex geometries with surface finish and high-performance mechanical properties.
The Studio System 2 is compatible with 316L stainless steel and Ti64 as well as all materials previously supported by the Studio System, including 17-4PH stainless steel, 4140 low-alloy steel, H13 tool steel and copper. A portfolio of additional materials that take advantage of the Studio System 2’s streamlined, two-step process is in active R&D with new releases slated to roll out this year.
Ti64 for Studio System 2 is expected to ship September 2021.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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