Markforged has announced the launch of H13 tool steel for its metal additive manufacturing platform, the Metal X.
The company has sought to bring this material product to market to enable users of its metal 3D printing technology to produce high-strength, high temperature parts. H13 is renowned for exhibiting excellent red hardness, resistance to thermal fatigue, high toughness, ductility and good abrasion resistance.
Markforged believe this new material will allow its user to tackle unique and complex geometries, and cites metal forming tools, dies and punches, hardened inserts for fixtures, and injection moulds with conformal cooling channels as potential applications. With the latter, the company says 3D printing can enable the more effective transporting of heat away from the mould cavity and thus bring more uniform cooling, higher throughput, and a reduction in warpage, cycle times and operational costs.
“We designed the Metal X system to change the way things are made, and the launch of H13 is the next step down that path,” commented Jon Reilly, Markforged VP of Product. “For manufacturers of high-volume plastic parts this is a game changer, significantly the speed at which they can bring new products to market.”
One such manufacturer to have adopted the Metal X is Grant Engineering, a company that produces millions of parts a year with injection moulded plastics. Grant has been harnessing the Metal X to print injection moulds with 17-4 PH stainless steel, but is hoping to further reduce iteration time and cost with the new H13 material.
“Injection moulding is the core of what we do,” said Randy Grant, co-founder and co-owner of Grant Engineering. “Much like the robots and automation we’ve already introduced into our workflow, we see 3D printing – especially the Metal X – as a way to keep us hyper-competitive on cost and turnaround time while still delivering the precision and quality we’re known for. Being able to 3D print H13 should enable a lot of innovation with injection moulding. We can’t wait.”
Markforged’s H13 tool steel is bookable immediately at $229.99 per 1kg spool, and will be ready to ship by March 2019. The company also plans to introduce A2 and D2 tools steel, stainless steel 316L, Inconel and Titanium materials for the Metal X.