Last Updated on February 4, 2022 by Markeyus Franks
How much does a metal 3d printer cost? Typically a quality 3d metal printer’s price can range from $5,000 to well over 2 million dollars. In this article, we will take a detailed look at the cost and structure of industry-quality 3d printers.
What is a metal printer and what is it used for?
A metal printer is a relatively new thing in the world of printing technology. There have been 3D printers for a few years now; however, metal printers are a new version of this 3D technology. Instead of printing 3D usable plastic like the original 3D printers, metal printers make metal items. There are two main types of metal printers. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) works by melting metal alloys, and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) works by melting a single metal.
Metal printers work by using directed laser beams to melt tiny metal particles. These particles are melted one on top of the other until the completed product has been made. The printers follow a 3D design that has been created using special computer software. They can replicate the most detailed of designs and have a greater range of capability than traditional manufacturing because they aren’t creating a part by carving it out of a solid block of material or by use of a mold.
Metal printers can make objects out of aluminum, titanium, steel, brass, platinum, gold, sterling silver, copper, and bronze. This wide range of materials, the infinite amount of designs and the precise detail that can be achieved make metal printers a very useful tool for businesses to have. They used to only be available for very large companies and have recently become available and affordable enough that medium and small-sized businesses can benefit from this latest technology.
Why should you buy a metal printer?
If your business requires parts that are made from any type of metal then a metal printer is going to be a useful tool for your business to have. In the long run you can save money by manufacturing the part yourself. The metal printer allows for a larger range of designs when creating parts because it doesn’t rely on molds to form its parts. Because it creates parts by printing in layers and it creates the exact design required with no wasted materials it can save you a lot of money. Traditional manufacturing practices require you to either use a mold or to carve your design out of a block of metal. This means that everything that is carved away from your part is wasted material and you have to factor the cost of this wasted material into the cost of the part you’re making (or buying).
The parts that you can make using a metal printer will also be considerably lighter than those manufactured through traditional means. Because you can manufacture any shape with a variety of metals it is possible to create a seamless part using Aluminum, for example, that might only be able to be made using steel using traditional methods. Being able to substitute for a lighter metal makes a big difference to some companies.
The aviation industry for example, uses lighter metals to cut the weight of planes so that they consume less fuel.
You can guarantee that you generate the exact shape required and you can make seamless pieces. This creates a stronger product than traditional manufacturing which may have needed to fuse two pieces together to make the part you need. The part where the two metals were fused is by nature weaker than a single piece.
How much is a metal printer?
The cost of a metal printer can vary greatly. A lot of factors go into the price of a metal printer. The type of printer you choose also has the largest impact on the price of your metal printer. At the high range, you can expect to pay close to 2 million dollars for a top of the line DMLS or SLM printer. The average DMLS/SLM printer comes in at around $550,000. If you go outside the DMLS/SLM printer types to some of the older or less well-known types of metal printers then the price changes. For a typical Metal Extrusion printer, you’re looking at paying roughly $140,000 while a Metal Binder Jetting printer will run closer to $400,000. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, depending on your printing needs, a Metal Extrusion printer might be right for you. If you’re looking for a mid-range printer then you’re more likely to be looking at a Metal Binder Jetting printer. The most expensive printers are the DMLS/SLM printers.
When considering the cost of the printer you also have to consider the cost of the materials and the cost of post-production. If you include the cost of post-production the overall cost of manufacturing one part using DMLS/SLM printers ranges from $5,000-$10,000 dollars. The cost of using other technologies such as the Metal Binding Jetting printer and the Metal Extrusion printer will cost roughly 5-10 times less than that, which is a significantly lower cost.
There are some desktop printers available that are more suited for a small business. These printers are considered consumer metal printers and can range in price from $200-$2000 with the majority of them coming in around $700.
What can you make with a metal printer?
The range of products that you can make with a metal printer is virtually endless. If it’s made of metal, it’s likely that it can be made using a metal printer. This allows this technology to reach a vast range of industries and allows it to be a valuable tool for a great number of companies. Metal printers are often used in the medical field. They can be used to manufacture surgical implements, implants, and parts in prosthetic limbs. They are used in the robotics industry for a wide range of items. They can be helpful in manufacturing aerospace parts, turbines, and rockets. Airplane manufacturers use these machines to manufacture airplane parts so their planes are lighter. Racecars and automobile manufacturers have seen an increase in quality and performance from using a metal printer. The tooling for injection molding can be made with a metal printer. There are prototype shoes that have used a metal printer and they can even be used to manufacture jewelry!