17-4 PH stainless steel H900 heat treat through Protolabs
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    Default 17-4 PH stainless steel H900 heat treat through Protolabs

    During quoting for a complicated (think 5-axis) part, I found protolabs additive manufactures and heat treats(!) this material. Here are Protolabs https://www.protolabs.com/media/1014...a-sheet-02.pdf and what I believe are the Stratasys spec sheets for the process (removed). I've been burned by other DMLS processes not working as planned, so I was wondering about others' experiences. This would be a high stress application, where the 170 ksi yield strength is critical.

    It turns out Protolabs uses Concept laser, not Stratasys, so I removed that link.
    Last edited by Marc von Amsberg; 08-23-2018 at 11:33 AM.

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    Hi Marc, I don't have any experience with Protolab's metal sintering but have used them in the past for machined and 3D printed components. Always great to deal with. If I'm not mistaken the 3D printing division is located around Charlotte. May be worth the trip.

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    We await with great interest any discoveries you may make about the relative cost of 5 axis machining vs 3D printing.I'd believe them when they say the can hit 190 ksi but you could always print some test parts...

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    Likewise, my experience with Protolabs CNC machining have been very good. My previous DMLS experience was not with them, and I printed titanium in that experience, not stainless steel. So it's not an apples to apples comparison material wise. The downfall with the titanium was I wasn't prepared for the brittleness of my samples. Though stress relieved, my parts were more brittle than my expectations. Build direction may have played a role in the reduced material properties.

    For the 17-4 PH, is there variation with the material properties based on the build direction? Also, are there brittleness issues?

    Yes, you're correct about the facility being close to Charlotte. If the parts are still coming from the Raleigh, NC, area, the company was formerly known as Fineline.

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    Because my part is tricky to make in 1 piece I'm looking at additive manufacturing as a potential solution. So far the costs have been pretty close whether it's AM or conventional CNC. So I've be making changes to the designs based on getting the designs to be effective and (hopefully) a bit cheaper.

    Testing is the best way, I agree. It's that additional insurance. It's never fun to pay for insurance.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc von Amsberg View Post
    Likewise, my experience with Protolabs CNC machining have been very good. My previous DMLS experience was not with them, and I printed titanium in that experience, not stainless steel. So it's not an apples to apples comparison material wise. The downfall with the titanium was I wasn't prepared for the brittleness of my samples. Though stress relieved, my parts were more brittle than my expectations. Build direction may have played a role in the reduced material properties.

    For the 17-4 PH, is there variation with the material properties based on the build direction? Also, are there brittleness issues?
    After speaking with Protolabs I learned build orientation shouldn't be an issue, nor brittleness. I should expect the same material properties as bar or plate stock after heat treatment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc von Amsberg View Post
    This would be a high stress application, where the 170 ksi yield strength is critical.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc von Amsberg View Post
    After speaking with Protolabs I learned build orientation shouldn't be an issue, nor brittleness. I should expect the same material properties as bar or plate stock after heat treatment.
    What are the consequences of a failed part? How might the part fail, and what's the safety factor?

    Metallurgy is never quite as simple as any broad subject being a "nonissue". These things are always conditional.

    Any manufacturing process can affect material properties and create non homogeneous material properties and stress risers. It wouldn't be accurate to take the results of say, a 3D printed round bar (essentially with no stress risers), compare it to rolled round bar, and then apply the findings to a complex, 3D printed part.

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    It's fascinating that every 3D printed metal project seems to be its own research project. It kind of suggests there are all sorts of sensitivities such as wall thickness (or build orientation, or not!) and perhaps overhang that need to be optimized. Following the 3D printed titanium for aircraft game, everything seems super secret but also slow, Working in clinical laboratory automation I appreciate that things are slow because need to do validation and develop SOPs, but all signs point to metal 3D printing continuing to be quite tricky.

    I was following Spencer Wright's blog, who has had a long running project in metal 3D printing for bike parts. Feed — spencer wright I haven't read it recently so need to go back and see if he's made progress. He was having iterations issues a couple of years ago.

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    Red face

    To follow up this last comment, I can reiterate that when the engineering demands of the parts increase, the intricacies of design become more challenging in the AM world. All that knowledge accrued in conventional machining is sometimes just reference. Those design gains in complexity (like hollow parts, with crazy undercuts) that additive manufacturing makes possible, open up many possibilities. Build orientation, porosity in grain structure, minimum walls, stress relieving, supporting holes with teardrop shapes, these are a few of the trade-offs. It's a great wild west right now!


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