Q. How do I reserve the DM Studio system?
You can reserve a system on the reservations page. DM Studio System reservations require a $1,000 non-refundable payment.
Q. I don’t need a furnace; can I reserve the printer only?
Currently, DM are only accepting reservations for the complete Studio system. They plan to offer the DM Studio Printer as a stand-alone option later in 2018.
Q. Can I cancel my reservation?
Yes, you can cancel your reservation at any time. Reservation deposits are non-refundable.
Q. Why is support material important in the printing and sintering steps? How is this done in traditional MIM process?
Support is needed to maintain the shape of the part during printing and especially in the sintering furnace. In traditional MIM, ceramic “setters” are used to support the parts in the furnace. These setters do not match the parts perfectly and do not shrink with the parts like DM supports do! You basically print a custom sintering fixture for each part - this is a definite advantage for DM.
Q. How do you handle shrinkage from green parts to sintered parts ?
This is all calculated in DM's software. Users simply load their part geometry and DM's software determines how much to expand the geometry so it shrinks to the correct size after sintering. The shrinkage amounts are well characterized over decades of use in the MIM industry.
Q. How is material loading done?
Bound metal rods are supplied in a cartridge that holds 4 KG of material. The printer deposits ~ 1 in3/hour.
Q. How long does each step in the process take?
Printing: Similar to FDM printing speeds. Most DM sample parts take 4-10 hours to print, while larger parts may take 24 hours or more to print.
Debinding: 2-8 hours to debind and dry.
Sintering Cycle: Around 24 hours as a baseline, depending on the total mass loaded and maximum wall thickness.
Q. Do different materials have different print speeds?
Materials all print at the same rate. The metal remains in powder form bound in the plastic binder during the print process.
Q. Are parts water/air tight?
As long as walls are ~ 1mm thick, parts should be water/airtight after sintering. DM will make recommendations if parts need additional sealing.
Q. After the print is completed and before it is sintered, is the part still safe to handle?
“Green” parts are safe to handle (no harm to humans). Parts can be post-processed in the green state as well. They are somewhat fragile in this state so they should not be handled roughly or subjected to heat above room temp.
Q. MSDS Data for materials, waste streams, debind chemicals, etc.
These will be made available for all materials into and out of the process prior to shipment.
Q. What is the Accuracy of the Printer?
The specifications state an accuracy of +/- 0.002” per inch (geometry dependent). This means that a 1” part should be +/- 0.002”, and a 3 inch part would be +/- 0.006”.
The geometry dependent aspect of the specification is very important as certain geometries (ie: overhangs, thin walls, or many other geometries) may cause parts to fall outside the specified accuracy. This could be off by as much as 2-3X (ie: 0.006”/inch).
Q. What is the surface finish like?
The surface finish is similar to plastic FDM printed parts. Layer lines are typically evident. Finer resolution in print layers will produce a smoother finish. If a specific surface finish is required, customers should expect to do finishing work to achieve that spec. Finish work can be done in the green state (typically handwork), or finished state (typically machining). This is very common for metal parts.
Q. What are DM’s material properties?
DM metallurgy is based on MIM and testing indicates that parts properties track published MIM “as sintered” MPIF standards. Parts can be heat treated to modify properties as other metal parts are treated. DM will publish material properties as they are released. Please reference published MIM data for basic expectations for material properties.
MPIF standards: http://www.mimaweb.org/Std35MIM_indiv.pdf
Q. Can I get some test bars?
We are not set up to produce test coupons or dogbone samples of materials for each customer.
Customers who wish to use DM Studio parts in high performance applications are encouraged/expected to complete testing of materials with their own machine to fully understand process capabilities for more rigorous applications.
Q. What is density/porosity of DM parts? How does this compare to other metal parts, especially DMLS parts?
MIM parts are typically in 97-99% dense range. DM studio parts are also in this range. Porosity on the Studio systems should be similar or slightly lower in density to DMLS (Laser Based) processes.
Q. What metals have 100% density (no porosity)?
Parts from machined cold/hot rolled steel or other processed materials.
Q. How do DM Studio parts compare to castings?
DM Studio parts should be equal or better than castings on porosity, but keep in mind that DM parts will have in-fill on thick cross sections.
Q. How do DM Studio parts compare to machined parts?
Machined parts are cut from rolled/forged materials. These Raw materials have very good properties so the parts cut from them also have good properties.
Q. What is the best all-around material DM offers?
17-4 SS is typically the best all-around material. It offers a good balance of corrosion resistance, strength, and cost and can be hardened easily.
Q. When will DM offer materials other than the Core materials?
After launch DM will take feedback from customers to drive priorities for releasing additional materials. For launch DM are focused on prospects where they can add value with CORE materials
Q. How do parts compare to DMLS parts (metallurgy, surface finish, etc). Can they be used in the same applications?
High end production applications like medical implants and jet engine parts are highly engineered processes on DMLS machines. DM Studio does not meet the same standards for metallurgy.
DMLS parts only meet this high standard after rigorous optimization for each part - this is a LOT of work. Therefore, applications of medical implants and aircraft parts should be avoided.
Q. How much do materials cost?
Core Steel Materials will be ~$100/KG (316, 17-4, H-13)
Inconel, Copper, Kovar will be ~ $250/KG