The NanoSteel® Company, a specialist in nano-structured steel materials design, announced the expansion of the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) material capabilities to support metal 3D printing of complex high hardness parts and the ability to customise 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. These properties could enable production of affordable, robust industrial components on-demand through the 3D-printing process.
The company used a combination of high hardness and ductile alloys to create a part featuring a gradient design. NanoSteel 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 high 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 transition 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.