Written By Scott J Grunewald Via 3DPrint.com
3D printing with metals has been around for a few years now, but as the technology and software that run 3D printers drop in price, it is starting to be adopted by a rapidly increasing number of industries. One of the most desired industrial quality metals is titanium, a low density, high strength metal that is highly resistant to corrosion and has a very high melting point. This makes the material ideally suited for a number of industries, including aerospace, automotive, military applications, medical prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental implants and even jewelry. And now that titanium can be 3D printed it is in more demand than ever before. TheTitanium Processing Center is a Michigan-based titanium distributor that sells the material in a wide variety of forms, including bars, rods, tubes, plate and of course 3D printing powders.
In order to keep their customers informed, and to help educate the public about what metals can be 3D printed, the Titanium Processing Center produced a helpful infographic called 3D Printing with Titanium. The infographic does a great job laying out what can be produced, when it should be used and why it is in such high demand. But there is only so much information that can be included in an infographic without overwhelming the reader or simply turning it into a comic book. Since there is still more to learn about 3D printing with titanium, it will help us to take a closer look at the material and its capabilities.
Titanium is the strongest material that can currently be used in 3D printing, not to mention that it is the lightest metal as well. Traditionally, when products are manufactured from titanium they need to be tooled with a CNC mill, or poured into a mold. But because 3D printing allows for virtually unlimited complexity it is actually quite cost effective to use additive manufacturing to produce products. 3D printed titanium is primarily used in the aerospace, dental and medical fields, specifically for medical implants due to its non-toxicity, high strength and resistance to corrosion. Current metal 3D printing technology allows titanium parts to be printed down to 0.25 mm layers with a minimum wall thickness as small as 0.4 mm.