Desktop Metal, with its new pure copper filament, now enables parts with excellent thermal and electrical conductivities to be printed on its Studio system. Known for its widespread use in electronics and heat exchangers, the new material is targeted at a variety of industries, including oil and gas, automotive, and consumer products.
Markforged, on the other hand, now offers Onyx ESD, a high-strength composite filament characterized by its electrostatic discharge (ESD)-safe nature. Primarily intended for electronics applications, the new material comprises carbon fiber-reinforcements in a nylon matrix.
Finally, Digital Metal customers now have the option to print with DM D2, a tool steel alloy for the company’s metal binder jetting systems. Featuring both abrasive wear resistance and toughness, DM D2 was created with tooling applications in mind.
Desktop Metal’s pure copper
The excellent conductive qualities of copper are undeniable, making it the universal material of choice for electrical and heat transferring connections. Leveraging additive manufacturing in particular, the combination of the material’s inherent properties with a set of intelligently designed internal cooling channels can optimize heat transfer, maximizing the service life of high-temperature components.
Desktop Metal has already tested its new pure copper filament for a number of use cases, including electrode holders, motor heat sinks, helical heat exchangers, and bus bars.
Jonah Myerberg, CTO and Co-Founder of Desktop Metal, states: “Whether for heat sinks, electrical motor and power grid components, or resistance welding electrodes, 3D printed copper on the Studio System is an ideal choice for manufacturing parts featuring complex geometries.”
Markforged’s Onyx ESD
Onyx ESD aims to fill a very specific niche, and that is in the production of ESD-safe electronic components. Without ESD safety, such components would be susceptible to damage in the presence of an electrical charge, rendering products faulty and dangerous to handle. Electronics testing equipment manufacturer Columbia Elektronik has already worked with the material to 3D print complex testing fixtures.
Christer Lang, Design Engineer at Columbia Elektronik, adds, “We are seeing an increase in demand for ESD-safe parts, to keep up with the advancements of the technology in the industry. Markforged is filling a gap in accessing those parts with Onyx ESD, enabling us to design complex parts quickly. This material, coupled with Markforged’s 3D printers, eliminates the need for time-consuming assembly – freeing up our workforce and releasing time spent on our CNC machines.”
Digital Metal’s DM D2
DM D2 is a high-carbon, high-chromium steel alloy that can be fully heat treated to feature excellent hardness and compressive strength. According to Digital Metal, the alloy provides enough hardness to maintain its shape while stamping, forming, and cutting other metals. This, of course, makes it an excellent choice for manufacturing tooling, where strength and wear resistance are absolutely crucial.
Christian Lönne, CEO at Digital Metal, concludes, “We have been receiving more and more requests for a D2 tool steel suitable for use with our printers. We have designed the DM D2 to deliver excellent surface finish, flexibility, as well as strength and hardness. This alloy is very stable during heat treatments, which allows for tailoring of the final material properties through various heat treatments after sintering.”
The 3D printing industry constantly yields new materials on a rolling basis. Forward AM, a 3D printing arm of chemical company BASF, recently launched its new Ultrafuse 17-4 PH metal filament. The 17-4 stainless steel-based material comprises metal powder in a polymer matrix, and is designed to enable safe and cost-efficient metal printing on most common FFF systems.
Elsewhere, 3D printer manufacturer Sinterit recently launched its own ESD-safe 3D printing material – PA11 ESD. Despite being the company’s seventh SLS powder, it is the first to feature electrostatic discharge functionality, and can be used for the production of conductive parts for electronics applications.