FDM technology of metal

Innovative technology for producing metal parts using Fused Deposition Modeling technology. The printing material is composite filaments, in which metal powders are coated with a polymeric material. The technology for producing metal structures is divided into 4 main stages: modeling and scaling, printing, washing and sintering. In the first stage of the process, a 3D model of the component is prepared, which is then scaled to avoid significant dimensional and shape deviations after the sintering process. Subsequently, the scaled 3D model is printed on a 3D printer using FDM technology and subjected to the rinsing and sintering process. During the rinsing process, the plastic that served as the matrix in the composite filament is removed from the print (the green part). After the rinsing process, the so-called brown part is obtained, which is characterized by high porosity and brittleness, so immediately after rinsing the part is subjected to sintering. At a temperature of about 1380 °C, the metal powders fuse together to form the final part, accompanied by a large, anisotropic shrinkage of about 16% in the X and Y axes and 20% in the Z axis.

There are filaments on the market that allow the production of fully metallic parts. Among them we can find such metals as 316L steel, 17-4 PH steel or H13 tool steel.

The dimensions of the 3D model to be printed should not exceed 100 x 100 x 100 mm. The recommended minimum wall thickness is 1 mm, and the maximum is 10 mm. The recommended layer height is 0.2 mm. Parts made of metal-composite filaments are printed with 100% fill.

The baked prints can be subjected to additional finishing processes, including, but not limited to, sandblasting, vibratory abrasion, or machining.


Products developed using FDM technology and composite filaments with metal will work very well for prototyping and low batches of small parts.