3D Printed Metal Parts for Production Runs

If you’re looking for medium-sized production runs of stainless steel parts, RapidMade has you covered. Our direct metal printing service is the best option for stainless steel and bronze alloy manufacturing in quantities ranging from about 100 to 1000 parts.

This new technology offers excellent value for orders that are too large for other metal printing methods like DMLS but too small for die-casting or metal injection molding.

Direct metal printing bridges the gap between existing technologies by providing a solution with limited lead times that is 10 times faster than DMLS and 8-12 times less expensive for medium-sized production runs. And, because it doesn’t require tooling, direct metal printing is more flexible and affordable than die casting or metal injection molding.

 

Get a Quote in 24 Hours or Less

Request a quote with our Classic Quote tool or by giving us a call. A RapidMade engineer will review your design and send you a price in 24 hours or less. Once your order is placed, parts made with rapid casting have a typical lead time of 5-12 days.

 

The Most Advanced Stainless Steel Manufacturing

Cost comparison for a range of metal manufacturing technologies: metal injection molding, direct metal printing, DMLS, and machining.

When it comes to medium-sized production runs of metal parts, manufacturers are often in a bit of a bind. Die casting and metal injection molding require expensive and time-consuming machined tooling, making them impractical for all but large orders. Moreover, this tooling means that any adjustments to a part’s design are costly and slow to implement.

Traditional metal printing technologies like DMLS, on the other hand, have a very high per part cost, limiting their use to prototypes or extremely short runs of specialty parts. While machining produces excellent finishes and tight tolerances, it is expensive for large quantities or complex designs.

Now, you can get production-grade metal parts in weeks, not months, and at a more affordable rate than ever. Plus, direct metal printing is compatible with a variety of stainless steel and alloy metals, so you can make parts to fit a wide range of applications. It’s even a great option for producing durable metal tooling!

 

Design Advantages of Direct Metal 3D Printing

Direct metal printing affords all of the design advantages of most 3D printing technology. Complex geometries, nested cores and latticing are all able to created accurately and consistently over many parts. 

This allows new possibilities for combining multi-part assemblies into single pieces as well as reducing part weight by replacing solid blocks with lightweight, durable lattices. Because direct metal printing does not require any tooling, design alterations are easy, even after parts are already in production.

Our expected tolerances are within 1%, though this can be reduced even further in some cases. Additionally, 3D printed metal parts can be machined after printing to maintain even tighter tolerances.

MES_1362 (1).jpg

Design Considerations

When designing parts for direct metal printing, there are a few important factors to consider:

  • It is best suited for parts no greater than 5" in their largest dimension.

  • Overhangs over 25 mm (in) must have supports or fillets.

  • Inside corners should have a fillet radius equal to wall thickness.

  • Hollow cavities need a hole to drain loose powder after setting.

  • Thin connections between thicker sections may warp.

 
Part Size Min. Wall Thickness
3-75 mm (0.12-3 in) 1 mm (0.04 in)
75-150 mm (3-6 in) 1.5 mm (0.06 in)
150-200 mm (6-8 in) 2 mm (0.08 in)
200-300 mm (8-12 in) 3 mm (0.13 in)
 

Why Use Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel parts 3D printed with direct metal technology.

Stainless steel is one of the most popular metals for industrial parts and consumer products. Considering everything it has to offer, it’s easy to see why.

Corrosion resistance, thermal resistance, mechanical strength, sterilizability and good looks—stainless steel has it all. Plus, it’s affordable and easy to work with.

Direct metal printing opens up an entirely new field of use cases for stainless steel by eliminating cost, quantity and design barriers to economical manufacturing.

Countless industries use stainless steel, including:

  • Medical

  • Transportation

  • Energy

  • Appliances

  • Food

 

Direct Metal Materials

304L Stainless Steel

The most versatile and widely used stainless steel. Easy and consistent fabrication with good corrosion resistance and strength. Many general-purpose commercial applications.

304L Stainless Steel Data Sheet

316L Stainless Steel

Easily machined metal with high temperature resistance. The most commonly used MIM powder. Many heat-sensitive applications in aerospace, automotive and medical industries. Meets MPIF 35 standards.

316L Stainless Steel Data Sheet

17-4PH Stainless Steel

Very high strength, heat-treated stainless steel with good corrosion resistance. Often used for cooling and aerospace applications. Meets MPIF 35 standards.

17-4PH Stainless Steel Data Sheet

420 Stainless Steel/Bronze

The most cost effective Direct Metal material with high wear resistance for increased product life. Good for aesthetic pieces and high-wear components like impellers, rotors, or firearm parts.

420 Stainless Steel/Bronze Data Sheet

316 Stainless Steel/Bronze

The best option for post-printing machining. Able to achieve very tight tolerances. High wear resistance. Ideal for tooling, fixtures and medical parts.

316 Stainless Steel/Bronze Data Sheet

Tungsten-Bronze

High-density shielding material with a very high melting point. Many industrial applications in aerospace, medical and nuclear industries. Frequently used as a replacement for lead in radiation shielding.

Tungsten-Bronze Data Sheet

 

Start Direct Metal Printing

Like all of our services, our Direct Metal Printing is backed by our team of expert engineers.

Start your 3D printed metal project today by filling out our easy Classic Quote form. Our engineers will review your design and get back to you in 24 hours or less with a quote and free project analysis. Or, you can reach out to us directly at (503) 943-2781 or info@rapidmade.com.