Integrated Process Line for Fused Filament Fabrication of Metallic Parts Using Metal Powder Loaded Filaments




Introduction:  Due to the great variety of different additive manufacturing technologies available on the market [1,2], it is hard to choose the one that is best suited for a certain manufacturing task. High investment and maintenance costs often make it hard for small companies to expand their portfolio and to benefit from AM technologies. Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) has the potential to offer a cheap alternative AM technology at little cost. Since FFF machines consist of relatively simple and low-maintenance parts the investment costs are relatively low and range from a few hundred to a few ten thousand dollars depending on the technical equipment and precision. Due to the increasing printing quality and high built rates that can be achieved with the FFF printers, they become more and more attractive for additive manufacturing of complex plastic parts. Recent product developments show that particle or fiber loaded filaments can be used to change the appearance and haptics or to improve the physical properties of the printed parts in a wide range (e.g. [3,4]). At the Fraunhofer Institute IFAM the idea of loaded filaments is resumed and a metal powder loaded filament with a high volume fraction of 55 vol% has been developed. The filament enables the printing of green parts which can be debinded and sintered to yield fully metallic components.

Authors: S. Riecker, O. Andersen, S.B. Hein, T. Studnitzky, and B. Kieback

Keywords: Fused Filament Fabrication, 3D Printing, Metal Parts, Sintering

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