With the regular news coverage of 3D Printing, people are familiar with simple components being made from plastics but are unaware that this technology can manufacture parts from metal. What surprises most people is that we have been offering this service for over a decade, having made over 30,000 parts.
As the first bureau in the UK to offer this service, we supply components to a variety of sectors but due to the higher cost of manufacture, this technology is mainly used by motorsports, medical, defence and oil and gas industries.
Typically, metals builds can be up to eight times the cost of normal plastic builds but the process is cost effective for high end, low volume parts that have complex features that are hard to achieve using traditional engineering. Current metals that we manufacture include stainless steel 316, maraging steel, cobalt chrome and inconel.
Rather than manufacture for prototyping, parts are built from recognised engineering materials as final components, and can be turned around in days as opposed to weeks or months. To explore the possibility of metal printing and additive manufacturing, we will always need 3D CAD rather than 2D drawings.