Fully dense component produced by metal injection moulding sits atop metal feedstock.
Quick turn manufacturing and prototyping experts Proto Labs has added two nickel steel materials Catamold FN02 and FN0205 and a chrome-moly material Catamold 42CrMo4, the metal injection moulding (MIM) equivalent of 4140 steel, to its manufacturing capabilities. The new metals will allow product designers and engineers to get injection-moulded low-alloy steel prototypes and also expand the potential applications for parts produced by Proto Labs’ advanced MIM process.
Low-alloy steel creates strong, wear-resistant metal parts when heat-treated and is able to be to be coated in post-processing for further protection. Due to its resilient and tough properties, the low-alloy steel materials will be used across a broad range of applications and sectors including the firearms industry for various gun and archery components and automotive for engine and transmission components. In addition, the industrial goods sector will benefit from these new materials for use in the development of hand and power tools, and door and window lock hardware.
“We’ve had tremendous customer demand for stainless steel with MIM last year, and expect the same response to our new low-alloy metals,” explained Becky Cater, Proto Labs’ product manager for MIM. “We offer many different hard and soft metals through our 3D printing and CNC machining services at Proto Labs, but nickel steel is only produced through metal injection moulding. This material boost will inherently let our customers do more things in the realm of low-volume metal manufacturing.”
In addition to rapid prototypes, Proto Labs can produce up to 5,000+ metal injection moulded end-use parts within 15 days. The company provides a “Real Parts, Really Fast” service, which offers injection moulding, CNC machining, and additive manufacturing for prototyping, tooling and production.