Sintratec’s CMF 3D printing process, known for its innovation, is being explored.


Sintratec, a well-known company in the 3D printing industry, has recently unveiled their innovative CMF 3D printing process. While they are already recognized for their SLS system, which involves using a laser to selectively fuse polymer powder particles together, they have now taken this technology a step further to produce metal parts using a process they call Cold Metal Fusion, or CMF.

What sets this process apart is the unique use of material. Instead of using standard polymer powder, Sintratec has developed a powder composed of a polymer base with metal spikes sticking out. When the laser fuses the powder, the polymer melts as usual, but the resulting solid structure also contains numerous metal bits. It’s important to note that, despite the name, the process is actually cold, meaning that only the polymer is melted, not the metal. Sintratec maintains a temperature of about 50°C in the build chamber during printing.

While SLS processing often results in a nearly finished part, CMF prints require additional post-processing. The first step is to remove the loose powder that didn’t fuse during printing. This is where things get interesting. Many cold metal 3D printing processes utilize simple binders to hold the metal powder together, resulting in fragile green parts that require careful handling. However, Sintratec’s CMF parts, at this stage, are still polymer prints and thus quite solid. This allows for rough handling during the depowdering process. Sintratec even recommends using their 30bar water jet system to blast off the excess powder, a method that would be disastrous for typical binder jet green parts.

After depowdering, the green part is placed in a special chamber where it is exposed to acetone at higher temperatures for an overnight session. This chemical process chemically removes almost all of the polymer, leaving behind only the metal bits and a small amount of remaining polymer. The final step is sintering the now “brown” part in a sintering oven, a process that takes between 10-15 hours. Once this step is completed, the parts are considered finished and can be used as intended.

Overall, CMF presents an intriguing alternative to traditional binder jet approaches for metal printing. Its advantages, such as the ability to handle the green parts more roughly during depowdering and the simplified post-processing steps, make it a potentially appealing option for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for a simpler way to produce small metal parts.

In conclusion, Sintratec’s CMF 3D printing process is an exciting development in the world of metal printing. By combining polymer and metal in a cold fusion process, they have created a new method that offers advantages in terms of handling and post-processing. This innovation opens up possibilities for SMEs seeking to streamline their production of small metal parts.

Original source


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