DMLS: guidelines & technical specifications for titanium 3D printing

So you would like to 3D print in titanium?

i.materialise has just launched titanium 3D printing. So for the first time you can now 3D print in titanium. We have another blog post here explaining the process and with more images. This blog post is meant for people that want to 3D print in titanium and are interested in the technical specifications and design rules for the material.

Technical Specifications

You can buy Titanium from us but other alloys are possible with DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) such as cobalt chrome. Titanium 3D printing is a process quite similar to the  Slective Laser Sintering (SLS) process. Only instead of the Nylon polyamide powder titanium powder is used. DMLS is very different process from the Prometal process and lost wax casting process that are also used for additive manufacturing in metal. Take this into mind when designing for DMLS!

This is the strongest 3D printing material in the world today. The material used is medical grade titanium. This has extremely low weight & excellent biocompatibility.

  • The maximum build volume is 27 by 25 by 43 cm.
  • The process is very accurate at ± 50 µm.
  • Minimum wall thickness is 0.2mm. This is a significantly thinner wall thickness than almost any other process.
  • Typical surface roughness is 5 µm Ra – 40 µm Rz.
  • The relative density is 100% and the absolute density is 4.41 grammes per cubic cm.
  • Ultimate tensile strength is 1024 MPa.
  • Young”s module is 111 GPa.
  • Hardness as measured on micro Vickers is 370 HV.
  • The melting point of the material is 1660 Celsius.

The pricing.

To make it easier for you to anticipate a price and to decide if you would like to order one of your designs in titanium we have a Standard price based on bounding box and volume. Not all parts will be able to be produced for this price however. In some cases your part would cost us too much manual labor to plan and finish it, in this case we will have to give you a custom price for your titanium part.

  • For objects that have a maximum bounding box of 2 by 2 by 4cm and a volume of 1 cubic centimeter the price would be 93 Euros ($124).
  • The same bounding box with 2 cubic centimeters of volume is 144 Euro ($192).
  • The same bounding box with 4 cubic centimeters of volume is 235 Euro ($313).
  • The same bounding box with 8 cubic centimeters of volume is 411 Euro ($547.20)

Series of 50 parts or greater will result in a significant price drop. The prices above are for the Standard finish and polishing will cost extra. The image directly below is of a polished part, all other images are of the Standard finish. Email contact @ i.materialise.com should you have any more questions on pricing.

How to order a part in titanium?

Upload a 3D model to i.materialise, select the Titanium material and request the price. We will check your model and calculate a price manually for you. If you have any customer service questions please email contact (at) i.materialise.com and we will help you, email joris (at) i.materialise.com for any other questions.

Truthiness

We’d like for you to make 3D printed things in titanium but we would not like to disappoint you. So we would like to tell you some unvarnished truths here so hype & hope don’t become tears.

Immense amounts of heat are generated to sinter titanium. The support structures are required to stop your part from deforming during the 3D print. The size and geometry of your part determine the size, number and position of these structures. These have to be calculated and implemented by an engineer. Likewise a person has to remove all of these structures afterward. This means that if your part is very complex and requires a lot of manual labor we cannot offer it to you for the Standard price but will make a custom quote for it. You might in some cases still be able to see where some of the supports have been removed from your part.

You know that shiny milled titanium that very expensive watches have? This does not look like that. Generally it looks more grey & matte and the surface is less smooth and defined. The standard titanium finish is grey in color but your parts can also be polished to achieve shine such as the ball image. Some parts might seem rough.

If you’re going to design something for titanium please be aware that there are some design constraints and please read the design rules first.

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