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Metal Manufacturing Technologies

A comparative guide to RapidMade's metal technology and material options.

 

3D Printed Metals

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Standard Materials: Aluminum, stainless steel, tool steel and titanium

Relative Cost: 

Machine Finish: ★★☆☆

Typical Lead Time:  5-15 Business Days

Specialty Materials: Cobalt chrome, inconel, (nickel alloy) and more (See DMLS page)

Relative Cost: 

Machine Finish: ★★★☆☆

Typical Lead Time: 5-15 Business Days

DMLS Pros: Stronger than cast parts, works with exotic and expensive to machine metals, can make parts that are otherwise not manufacturable

DMLS Cons: Limited part size (generally under 10"), rough finish, lower tolerance than machining, generally more expensive than machining

 

Printed Metal

Standard Materials: Stainless steel bronze alloy

Relative Cost: 

Machine Finish: ★★☆☆

Typical Lead Time:  10-20 Business Days

Specialty Materials: None

Relative Cost: N/A

Machine Finish: N/A

Typical Lead Time: N/A

Printed Metal Pros: Half to a third the cost of typical DMLS parts, beautiful bronze polish look, easily plated, larger bed than DMLS

Printed Metal Cons: Single available material, low strength to weight ratio for metal, long lead time relative to other 3D technologies

 

Traditional Manufacturing

Machining

Standard Materials: ABS, HDPE, acetal, nylon, aluminum, stainless steel

Relative Cost: Quantity and lead dependent

Machine Finish: ★★★☆

Typical Lead Time:  5-15 Business Days

Specialty Materials: Custom materials available on request

Relative Cost: Quantity and lead dependent

Machine Finish: ★★★☆

Typical Lead Time: 5-15 Business Days

Machining Pros: Scales well with volume, widest range of materials, high tolerance and good surface finish

Machining Cons: Generally more expensive at low volumes and higher complexity than 3D printing, more design limitations than 3D printing