Not all 3D printers use the same technology. There are several ways to print and all those available ones are additive, differing mainly in the way layers are build to create the final object.
Some methods use melting or softening material to produce the layers. Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) are the most common technologies that use this way of printing. Another method of printing is when we talk about curing a photo-reactive resin with a UV laser or another similar power source one layer at a time. The most common technology using this method is called stereolithography (SLA).
The higher the relative density is, the stronger the mechanical properties and strength are. MIM shows high performance in the tensile strengths, desirable hardness and elongations compared with other methods. The MIM process can yield significant cost savings over the following competing industries such as: Precision, Machining, CNC Machining, Die-Casting, Precision Casting, Screw Machining, Traditional P/M, Stamping or Forging, or any other Sintering Components. The cost savings can also be realized by eliminating Secondary Operations, Machining, Sizing or Coining, Oil Impregnation, Tumbling, or other Surface Treatment.
The part is formed by compressing the powder metal, or blended metal powders, in accurately formed dies and punches in special types of hydraulic presses. The compressed pieces are then sintered in an atmosphere controlled furnace at high temperatures, causing the metal powder particles to be metallurgically bonded together. This remarkably “green” and environmentally friendly process uses 99% of the material that’s in the mold, producing harmless bi-products of nitrogen and hydrogen.
Optional operations include sizing or coining. Supplementary heat treatments may also be employed to increase material strength. Other optional finishing steps include milling & machining, grinding, drilling & tapping, reaming & other hole sizing, plating, and Cu, plastic or oil impregnating. The result is high density parts comparable to wrought products of the same composition and surpassing plastic and die cast material properties. Lower density will, of course, result in lower physical properties; however, these parts can be used in filter or air flow applications.