Ottawa-based Equispheres Inc. has introduced a non-explosible aluminum alloy feedstock for additive manufacturing (AM).
Identified as NExP-1, the new material reduces the hazards associated with day-to-day handling of materials for 3D printing. NExP-1 has been specifically designed for production printing of aluminum parts. It maintains the ability to produce high-quality prints at high throughput rates, but unlike other metal powders for AM, it is dust-free and characterized as non-explosible per ASTM E1226, Standard Test Method for Explosibility of Dust Clouds.
The material is also non-combustible, per the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part 3, Subsection 33.2.1. for flammable solids.
“We have achieved these key safety properties without altering the quality of our material nor the chemical composition. In printing, this material performs just as well as our other aluminum powders, but it has the added benefit of being non-explosible and non-combustible,” says Evan Butler-Jones, vice president – product & strategy for Equispheres.
Equispheres says that because this new, non-explosible aluminum material significantly reduces the hazards of day-to-day handling without sacrificing the quality of the printed part, it could reduce the barriers to industrialization of 3D printing and make the process more easily integrated into manufacturing facilities.
“It would almost be inaccurate to even call this a powder,” says Butler-Jones. “It is almost totally free of dust; it flows like water and it is easy to clean off of equipment surfaces. It is a completely unique printing media for production additive manufacturing.”
The material is currently available in AlSi10Mg. Equispheres has developed recommended parameters for printing the new material, targeting several end-use applications