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Rapid manufacturing and prototyping options extended

Users of DTM?s Sinterstation systems now have a faster way to produce fully dense metal parts, prototypes, and tooling inserts for injection molding. DTM has released LaserForm ST-100, a new powdered metal material made with a stainless steel alloy. The Sinterstation uses a process called selective laser sintering (SLS), in which a CO2 laser fuses any of several available plastic, metal, and ceramic powders to produce parts in an additive, layer-by-layer process.

Two steps are required when using LaserForm ST-100. First, the stainless steel part is created in the Sinterstation system, using the SLS process to bond the alloy metal powder. Next, the part is infiltrated with bronze in a kiln-like oven. The result is a fully dense, fully functional metal part or tool. According to DTM, complex parts and tools can be created much faster than with machining or casting, and fully functional metal prototypes can be created in two to three days. More complex tooling inserts take five to 10 days.

DTM also reports that labor costs are lower because the laser system offers toolmakers an unattended method for parts production in low-volume manufacturing or prototyping environments. When only a moderate number of metal parts are needed, users can skip the typically expensive step of creating tooling while also minimizing the need for highly skilled labor. The parts can be machined, welded, and polished using traditional techniques, allowing machinists and toolmakers to finish the tools or parts and make design changes without producing another part.

DTM Corp.
Austin, TX
Phone: (512) 339-2922
Fax: (512) 339-0634
www.dtm-corp.com

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