Together we exceed any limitations of 3D printing

Metal 3d printed low angles


The moral of this story: exceeding restrictions together takes us further. So, what comes to AM, you have no reason to “carry coals to Newcastle” – or, as we would say in Finnish:” it does not pay off to go further than the sea to fish.”

The use of additive manufacturing (AM) in the spare part business is snowballing in many sectors. AM enables the life cycle extension of the machines and equipment by providing spare parts fast, decentralising manufacturing, and reducing inventory. Moreover, it is applicable even for single components and saves time and money while it requires no molds or other costly preparations.


Metal printing calls for design rules

In metal 3D printing, it has been essential to follow specific design rules. One rule of thumb has been to build angles lower than 45 degrees only with support structures. The support structures conduct away the heat generated by the process and prevent distortions in parts. It is worth noting that the support structure increases the use of printed material and thereby increases costs. The support structures also need to be removed, which can be costly or sometimes even impossible.


Reality does not follow rules

Huld’s AM team faced this limitation with a customer spare part having thin blades with low build angles. These blades were 2 mm thick with build angles as low as 13°. The low angles were not the only challenge, as the component geometry also dictated that these angles were present in multiple directions. Therefore the part could not be optimally oriented on the build plate to reduce crash risk during the build. Like in most cases, with spare parts, changing the design was not an option. Huld found a solution to fulfill the customer’s requirements. This case also initiated a development project with Delva – to print low-angle parts without the support structure. Delva had overcome this challenge in many customer cases, both in spares and in new components, but an angle this low required special forces. Therefore, Delva started a target-oriented dialog with EOS.


Customer requirements guide the way

Huld, Delva, and EOS are all genuinely customer-oriented companies. The technology is not there solely for the technology, but to fulfill the customer’s needs. The companies efforts to encourage sustainability and responsible manufacturing underline this. A development project was initiated at EOS to find the proper process parameters to build low angles in different directions successfully. The theory and practical knowledge provided a good foundation and determination concretised in tireless testing. As a result, EOS solved the issues with the low angle by optimising process parameters and implementing innovative exposure strategies.

Together, EOS, Huld, and Delva make these structures – and much more – also available locally in Finland.

Picture: Successful low-angle (as low as 13°) builds, built without a support structure. Manufactured with EOS standard HSS recoater. Part ø 240 mm.

Huld offers an internationally unique combination of software and product development expertise, building intelligent solutions that last for tomorrow – and beyond. In addition, Huld has years of experience working on additive manufacturing with industrial partners. Huld is eager to solve complex projects and push the additive manufacturing industry forward with seamless cooperation.

Delva Oy is an experienced expert and partner in industrial metal printing. In addition to the printing service, Delva offers co-development that digs more profound than the surface to find optimal solutions to the customer’s individual needs. Metal 3D printing adds a new dimension to the range of manufacturing technologies and enables entirely new structures and solutions. Metal AM, also known as metal 3D printing, adds a new dimension to the range of manufacturing technologies and enables completely new structures and solutions. Embrace this mature technology with Delva and improve the competitiveness of your company. Metal prints from Delva Oy for tough use.

EOS is the leading technology provider worldwide for industrial 3D printing of metals and plastics. EOS is with the innovative EOS system, a technology and quality leader for high-end solutions in additive manufacturing (AM). Founded in 1989, it is the pioneer in direct metal laser solidification (DMLS) and provides highly productive systems for additive manufacturing with plastics. The portfolio also includes worldwide service and comprehensive consulting offers.

Photo: Cross-section of the blade. As can be seen, the structure is fully dense throughout the blade itself. Characteristic to the technology, the down skin roughness is relatively high in the as-built state, especially with extremely low angles.

Photo: As-built (left) and shot-peened (right) down skin surface of the blades. As can be seen, shot peening reduces the roughness significantly.

Photo: As-buit down skin (31x magnification)

Photo: Shot-peened down skin (29x magnification).

Vibratory polishing or other similar abrasive methods can further reduce surface roughness.

All images in this article ©EOS.