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Farsoon Technologies, a Chinese metal and polymer 3D printer manufacturer, has devised a method to produce H13 tool steel parts by laser sintering. After parameter optimization tests, the company has managed to 3D print H13 with properties comparable to those made by forging.
In collaboration with American tooling production company Next Chapter Manufacturing, Farsoon has applied this technology to manufacture lifters, used to cool and separate parts in injection molding.
Alloy - H13 - Tooling - Die - Industries
An incredibly versatile alloy, H13 is widely used in tooling and die industries. Its properties include high resistance to compression, thermal shock and abrasion. The material is applied to a broad range of components, including extrusion dies and high toughness, polished injection mold components. Because of its high toughness and good stability in heat treatment, the most common applications of H13 is hot work tooling.
As such a versatile material, manufacturers are seeking to expand H13’s use in 3D printing. In 2018, multi award winning 3D printer OEM Markforged made a H13 filament for its desktop-sized Metal X 3D printer. Metallum3D, 3D printers and filaments manufacturer, is currently developing H13 filaments for FDM/FFF printers. There are also on-going projects from ExOne and ORNL to develop 3D processing of H13 Tool Steel.
H13 - Direct - Metal - Laser - Sintering
Processing H13 in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) however proves difficult. During welding, the carbon content in the alloy is easily vaporized and contaminates the powder surface. Due to H13’s high carbon content, DMLS of H13 leads to issues such as internal flaws, porosity and thermal cracks, especially in the area of stress concentration.
Next Chapter Manufacturing’s lifter made with Farsoon’s H13 DMLS process. Image via Next Chapter Manufacturing.
Farsoon - Chapter - Manufacturing - Program - H13
Farsoon and Next Chapter Manufacturing have an ongoing program to produce robust H13 tooling using DMLS. The partners believe the way to overcome the technical challenge lies in finding the optimal processing parameters....
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