3D printing (3DP) is a kind of rapid prototyping technology. It is a technology based on a digital model file and uses a powdery metal or plastic adhesive material to build an object by layer-by-layer printing.
Many experts believe that the new manufacturing technologies represented by 3D printing technology featuring digitalization, networking, personalization, and customization will promote the third industrial revolution. The 3D printing technology of metal parts as the most advanced and most promising technology in the entire 3D printing system is an important development direction of advanced manufacturing technologies. With the development of science and technology and the need for popularization and application, the use of rapid prototyping to directly manufacture metal functional parts has become the main direction of rapid prototyping.
For example, the world's first 3D printed metal gun was designed and manufactured by Solid Concepts, a 3D printing company headquartered in Austin, Texas. First, a 3D model was created. Then, the metal laser sintering process (DMLS) was used to heat the metal powder to solidify it. After the support material was removed, the gun was modified so that it could be fired normally, and the handle was laser-sintered. Finally use ready-made springs and magazines.
The 3D printed metal pistol is assembled from more than 30 3D printed originals, including stainless steel and some special alloys. The bolts, barrels and many internal parts are made of stainless steel 17-4 printing materials, and some components Made of nickel-cadmium-iron alloy 625, including gun barrels, triggers, hammers, and carbon fiber filled nylon handles. At the heart of this technological process is metal laser sintering, and the equipment needed to make a pistol costs about $850,000.
In addition to being expensive and complex, it is limited to short-term use or short-term use. There is no way to meet the requirements for use within a long period of time. The structural strength of weapons obtained through 3D printing needs further demonstration.
However, it is no doubt that the birth of the 3D printed metal gun proved the feasibility and durability of the 3D printing technology for large-scale production of similar products.