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Metal printing kit


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Posted · Metal printing kit

I am fascinated by the new Ultimaker metal printing kit. I have watched the Ultimaker webinar, and I have one question. I seem to understand that the printed parts shrink massively during debinding and sintering. How is it possible to design precise, predictable geometry under such conditions?  Can this shrinkage be calculated precisely? I suspect (and hope!) that the answer is "yes", but I'd like to be sure. 

 

More in general, does anybody here have any first-hand experience with the UM metal printing kit? It seems an amazing, revolutionary development to me! Are there caveats? How often do such prints fail? Is there anything I must know before buying the kit?

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    Posted · Metal printing kit

    I believe Cura takes care of that (or at least it tries to). When you select the "metal" filament, your build volume in Cura will shrink. The model will actually be printed larger than it is shown in Cura, so it becomes the right size after sintering. At least, I think that is the theory.

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    Posted · Metal printing kit

    Having used the BASF 17-4 material:

     

    1. Cura will automatically resize the parts in XYZ starting with I think it was 5.0 or 5.1 (update to the latest version to be sure, as well as the latest material profile in the marketplace)

     

    2. You MUST ***THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL*** use Magigoo or some other Magigoo like adhesive. Glue stick doesn't work well, but Magigoo Original and HT in my testing worked well after soaking the entire plate in a water bath (pouring water and letting it sit on the plate worked too) then the part will be able to be removed without damage. Without it the part will tear itself apart when trying to remove.

     

    3. Dedicate a CC core to metal. The first print from my machine had trace amounts of plastic in it from an incomplete prime of the nozzle which ended up leaving a void in my part post sintering (it was small but still noticeable) If you don't want dedicate a core be prepared to run the printcore cleaning process (with Ultimaker cleaning filament) regularly.

     

    4. The surface of the metal parts is super rough. Unless you sand your parts before sintering be prepared for a sandpaper-like finish that is a pain to clean up afterwards. I haven't tried ironing to reduce this roughness, but try at your own risk.

     

    5. Follow the design guide lines given by basf exactly. Failure to follow will result in failure (which for me was mostly just part warpage during sintering in the XY)

     

    If you're willing to deal with these issues then you can make parts that are just as good as steel with a machine you already have. If you have the patience, it's 100% worth it.

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