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Study shows DED technology is faster than PBF for 3D printing mid-size metal parts

July 11, 2018
Source: ASM International

Optomec, Albuquerque, N.M., announces the results of a benchmark study showing directed energy deposition (DED) technology to be ten times faster and five times less expensive than powder bed fusion for 3D printing mid-size metal parts.

DED jets powdered material into a melt pool created by an energy source, typically a laser, which is attached to a machine tool arm. DED can build a part layer-by-layer, or build upon an existing part to create new structures or repair damage.  Material is added in a continuous process, similar to the fused deposition modeling method of using a print head to deposit thermoplastic.  DED systems are designed to focus on speed over accuracy for large prints, but can be coupled with CNC machine tools to create higher-tolerance parts.

“The two most commonly-used commercial methods for laser-based metal additive manufacturing technology today are PBF and powder-fed DED. Each has core strengths and can be used for similar projects,” says Lucas Brewer, LENS Application Development Manager at Optomec. “We put both technologies to the same task and were surprised to see such dramatic differences in build time and cost.”

The study created a mid-size (150 mm in diameter, 200 mm tall) conical shape metal part made of Inconel with internal tubular structures, and outsourced production to two separate and independent service providers – one for PBF and one DED.  The full details of the report are available free on the Optomec website. 

Subject Classifications

Materials Processing and Treatment | Additive Manufacturing

Materials Processing and Treatment | Powder Metallurgy

Materials Processing and Treatment | Thermal Spray Technology

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