Learn more about 3D Printing with Steel

3D printing with steel offers tremendous opportunity, but how do you do it? There are so many choices to make and points to consider when taking your first steps in this amazing world. Even if you already have some experience, you may encounter hurdles that are difficult to take. Sirris, CRM and BIL have been working together in the INSIDE Metal AM project, and we want to share with you what we have learned about steel 3D printing. 

Three different 3D printing technologies have been considered: selective laser melting (SLM), laser metal deposition (LMD) and wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). A lot of research and development work has been undertaken since the start of the project in 2017. We will share the lessons that we have learned with the wider public, in order to support a wider uptake of 3D printing with steel in Belgium. Make sure to join us at our upcoming webinar on 27 October

Selective laser melting (SLM) 

SLM with 17-4PH and H11 steel was studied at Sirris (in collaboration with VAC Machines/Trumpf). As 17-4PH was a new material for Sirris, we decided to undertake a wide parameter optimisation study. This study showed there is some variation in hardness as a function of print parameters, but that these are of less industrial relevance as compared to variations in part density. The properties can deviate from those in powder data sheets and are strongly influenced by post-build heat treatments. During upscaling to demonstrator parts, it became clear that also part design, orientation and position on the build plate have a large impact on the quality of a build job. All these observations have important implications when it comes to guaranteeing part quality and choosing material parameters to be used in part design. 

Laser metal deposition at CRM

Laser metal deposition (LMD) and wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM)

The LMD and WAAM processes were studied at CRM and parameter screening tests have been performed on wall-like structures, with a focus on the occurrence of defects such as porosity, inappropriate bead geometry, etc. Mechanical characteristics have been determined and microstructures have been analysed in order to study the effect of the heat input. It has been clearly demonstrated that the hardness values in 'as-built' condition are fluctuating along the wall height. The bottom typically has a somewhat higher hardness, since the material was deposited on a 'cold' substrate and as a consequence a quenching effect occurs. Along the height these hardness values are also fluctuating constantly from layer to layer and this is typically linked to the microstructure. The results give a first indication of how a controlled heat input or a post-deposit heat treatment can improve the microstructure and therefore the performance of the final AM part.

Would you like to find out more about the lessons we have learned? Join us at our free webinar on 27 October. You also have the opportunity to request a personal meeting with one of the project experts and discuss your own case in a closed environment. Register here!  

Strategic initiative Materials (SIM) Belgisch instituut voor Lastechniek (BIL)  CRM Group Agenschap innoveren en ondernemen