The NanoSteel Company has expanded its additive manufacturing (AM) material capabilities for metal 3D printing of complex high-hardness parts. It also announced the ability to customize properties layer-by-layer through gradient material design.
The company leveraged its 2014 breakthrough in AM wear materials to print a bearing and impeller using the powder bed fusion process. These parts were measured to be fully dense and crack-free, with hardness levels >1000 HV. By delivering these properties in functional parts, NanoSteel takes a significant step in the development of metal powders that enable affordable, robust industrial components produced on-demand through the 3D printing process.
A combination of high hardness and ductile alloys were used to create a part featuring a gradient design. NanoSteel engineers worked with Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology to generate part samples using freeform direct laser deposition. This single additive manufacturing process achieved a seamless transition between the hard and ductile properties without subsequent heat treatment.
These gradient materials designs offer the equivalent of “digital case hardening” —delivering impact resistance and overall robustness in addition to hardness and wear resistance in a single part.
“Proprietary metal alloys that support the cost-effective 3D printing of high-quality parts will help accelerate the shift from subtractive to additive manufacturing across applications such as wear parts, bearings, and cutting tools,” said Harald Lemke, NanoSteel’s General Manager of Engineered Powders.
The company’s targeted markets for its AM powder portfolio are tool & die, energy, auto, and agriculture.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense, 3D printing • additive manufacturing • stereolithography, Automotive, Rapid prototyping