The ExOne Company (ExOne), a global leader in industrial sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, has produced over 2 million metal parts at the Exone Adoption Center and shipped them to customers worldwide. The company has just added two X1 25Pro metal printers for dedicated production of stainless steel parts.
The newly renovated ExOne Adoption Center now runs 24-7 with 28 metal 3D printers: these now incude two new X1 25Pro systems now dedicated to stainless steel parts in 316L and 17-4PH. The affordable and durable X1 Metal 420i material remains a top seller for the company.
Mission two million
The mission of the ExOne Adoption Center is to allow customers to try metal binder jet 3D printing for their designs before they decide to buy an ExOne printing system for their own production.
Located outside of Pittsburgh, ExOne’s Metal 3D Printing Adoption Center produces parts 24-7 on more than two dozen metal 3D printers for industrial customers and on-demand manufacturing service bureaus such as Shapeways, Sculpteo, Xometry, and more.
ExOne’s metal 3D production facility has been in continuous operation since 2005 and has now produced more than 2 million parts in a wide range of metals, with the production of single-alloy metals picking up following the launch of the company’s patented Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT). While it certainly took several years to get to one million parts produced, it seems safe to assume that getting to two million parts took considerably less time.
Now featured on all ExOne production metal printers, Triple ACT uses an exclusive method of dispensing, spreading and compacting ultra-fine metal powders during binder jet 3D printing – delivering metal parts with industry-leading density, accuracy, and repeatability.
Two new X1 25Pro printers featuring Triple ACT have now been installed in the ExOne Adoption Center and are dedicated to running two stainless steel materials for customers: 17-4PH and 316L. The 25Pro is designed for high-volume production and has a build area of 400 x 250 x 250 mm (15.75 x 9.84 x 9.84 in), enabling it to 3D print a wide range of part sizes.
The center also features about a dozen furnaces including a new all-metal Elnik MIM3045 debind and sinter furnace. With 4.5 cubic feet of volume, the furnace offers hydrogen, argon, nitrogen and vacuum processing atmospheres suitable for a wide range of materials. The furnace allows ExOne to simulate full-size production operations to customers who want to adopt binder jetting for high-volume production.
Aside from 316L and 17-4PH, ExOne offers a variety of other single-alloy metals, including 304L, M2 Tool Steel, Inconel 718, 6061 Aluminum, Copper, and more.
However, the company’s most popular material continues to be X1 Metal 420i – a metal matrix composite made up of 60% 420 stainless steel that is 40% infiltrated with bronze, one of the earliest metals ever processed on ExOne printers. This material is highly durable and is being used for industrial and tooling applications, such as plastic injection molding and blow molding. Additionally, it’s the most popular and affordable material option for consumer goods, such as jewelry, where it’s popular for a dozen unique finishes such as gold, nickel, and matte black.
ExOne also offers X1 Metal 316i, an easier-to-machine matrix material that is 60% 316 stainless steel 40% infiltrated with bronze. This material also offers enhanced corrosion resistance properties.
A unique feature of ExOne’s binder jetting technology is the ability to 3D print metal parts with a specific level of porosity, which is helpful for filtration, tooling, and other applications.
ExOne and Shapeways will be hosting a webinar today at 10 a.m. ET about 3D printing 316L and X1 Metal 420i for consumer and industrial parts using ExOne’s exclusive approach to binder jet 3D printing.
The future is binder jetted
Widely regarded as the fastest method of metal 3D printing for high-volume output, binder jetting is similar to paper printing. An industrial inkjet printhead selectively deposits a binder into a bed of powder particles creating a solid part one thin layer at a time. Binder jetting can create 3D objects in metal, sand, ceramic or other powders. When printing metals, the final part must be sintered in a furnace to fuse the particles together into a high-density solid object.
ExOne has qualified more than 20 metal, ceramic, and composite materials for its binder jetting process. More than half of those materials are single-alloy metals, such as 17-4PH, 316L, 304L, M2 Tool Steel, Inconel 718, and more. Most recently, ExOne announced that 6061 aluminum is now a Customer-Qualified material, and titanium is now fast-tracked for qualification in partnership with a global medical device firm.