Germany Develops A New Technology To Improve The Quality Of Laser 3D Printing Precious Metals
The German Institute of Precious Metals and Metals Chemistry has recently developed a new method that significantly improves the quality of 3D print gold by selective laser melting (SLM) technology. This method can provide more design flexibility for 3D printing jewelry, watches, and even gold as a conductor of electronic products.
SLM technology is now easy to print titanium, aluminum or steel alloy, but still "not very good" to deal with gold, silver, and their alloys and other precious metals. This is mainly because these metals have a high reflectivity and thermal conductivity. However, the FEM Institute has found an effective solution by mixing these precious metals with other metals to form an alloy. But this kind of metal must meet certain conditions for the job, such as hardness is appropriate, after mixing will not significantly change the color of gold.
In the experiment, the researchers tried to mix gold with iron and germanium. Through several tests, they found that Ge001 and Fe003 most appropriate (b and c in the above figure), because the two alloys of iron and germanium are oxidized, and this can reduce the alloy reflectivity. It is worth mentioning that they use the 3D printer is ConceptLaser MLabRLaserCUSING.
In addition, the researchers also obtained the best print parameters for both alloys:
· Best powder size: 5-30 microns
· Best laser speed: 200-450 mm / sec
• Reduced porosity of heat treatment: 3-4% -0.7%
Although it is now possible to print precious metals directly and with better quality laser sintered 3D printers (such as MysintJ, which was introduced by Sisma in Italy in 2016), the FEM Institute's research is still a viable solution. I believe that as long as the final commercialization, it must be able to accelerate the transformation of 3D printing technology in the jewelry industry application.