I am new to 3D printing and need to know if I use steel in printing, do I get the same strength (compression and shear) as steel profiles manufactured in a factory?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide which technology you are expecting to use to 3d print using steel as the material? I am aware of laser sintering for metal as well as additive welding processes for steel. $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Apr 8 '16 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ Just any technology that works is fine. $\endgroup$ – Amir Apr 8 '16 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ This question is far too broad. You really need to narrow down what printer, process and material you're using. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Apr 8 '16 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Tom, there are far too completely different types of 3D printing to give a simple answer. You could, however, rephrase the question to ask something like: "Are there currently any 3D printing technologies that can produce prints that match the strength of steel profiles?". If you also have an actual issue you want to solve, adding a 3D model or sketch, and a more detailed problem description would also improve your question. $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene Apr 9 '16 at 20:56

A laser sintered part typically uses what could be described as surface bonding, as it does not melt particularly deeply into the powder. It would not have the same strength characteristics as machined steel or otherwise processed metal. A part constructed from 3d printing using feed metal/welding methods would have more strength, but would not necessarily have un-modified steel strength, due to the heat applied during the process.

Using a metal which responds to post processing, as in tempering, will likely improve the strength, but I believe that one is unlikely to reach the same values as "ordinary" steel. Compression along the lines of the construction layers would be reasonably strong, but forces applied in other directions are likely to match only the characteristics of the bond. The same consideration applies to shear strength.

  • $\begingroup$ If you want to improve (spelling of) the author's post, then consider leaving a comment or making the edit yourself. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Apr 9 '16 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ Fred_dot_u do you know whether it is possible to use gold for 3d printing? $\endgroup$ – Amir Apr 10 '16 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ I've not seen any references anywhere to using gold in 3d printing. It's a great idea, but would be astonishingly expensive to prototype a machine. Probably the least expensive method would be gold-infused PLA, but even that would be hundreds of dollars per gram. $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Apr 10 '16 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen gold powder bed printing. Shapeways also provides gold "printing" but I'm pretty sure it's stainless steel infused with gold. So the part is printed in stainless powder and a post-print heat treatment infuses the gold with the stainless steel to solidify the part and introduce the desired material. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Apr 10 '16 at 21:10

In terms of FFD plastics:

Using metal infused filaments for FFD printing; definitely not. The properties mixed into the filament will have some affect on the final piece, stronger, heavier, etc for BronzeFill, but still the majority of the print material will be plastic.

However, you can use PLA plastics (and new Moldlay wax like filament) for lost wax casting so all of the plastic is replaced with the molten metal.
In this case, yes, all the plastic or filament is replaced with the final casting metal and it's at strong as any other cast item.

  • $\begingroup$ I wanted to make a tensile testing machine or very simple version so that I could optimised the strength of my printing (rather than the appearance). Haven't done it. I printed some herb holders for a door and they are not just not quite strong enough so two broken out of 24 in a year $\endgroup$ – hum3 Apr 26 '16 at 14:21

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