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Metal manufacturing: What are your options?


Metal fabrication has been around and in use for several years now. The material is popular among various industries that use it in various ways, like making appliances, parts and heavy machinery. In this article, we will discuss metal fabrication applications and processes.

Applications of Metal Manufacturing

Metal is a versatile and reliable material that manufacturers in multiple industry sectors prefer. The following are some of the industries utilizing the material for their operations:

  • Aerospace
    Essential aeroplane components like wings, engine parts and fuselage must be strong and rigid to prevent the plane from tearing apart. Manufacturers usually consider these processes when creating their parts.

  • Construction
    Fabricators can use the procedures to bend and cut construction materials like stainless steel into various shapes and sizes. Steel fabrication is crucial in manufacturing beams, roofing sheets, pipes and railway tracks.

  • Automotive
    Engineers utilise forming processes to shape and cut most vehicle parts into complex designs

Metal Manufacturing Processes

Companies utilise various fabrication methods to create components and finished products. Here are some of the manufacturing methods experts use in production.


Cutting is among the most used techniques in the fabrication process. Parts are split into different sizes depending on manufacturing needs, and workers use tools like plasma torches, lasers and other advanced machinery to cut them.


Forging is a manufacturing method of manipulating metals into different shapes. This process involves bending, hammering, pressing and rolling parts into the desired shape.


In this process, cold metal is stretched and formed using tensile forces. Cold temperature ensures there is accuracy in the final product’s structure, finish and tolerance.

Metal 3D printing

This method makes parts by layering materials over each other. The layers are merged by welding, sintering and melting them.

Advantages of Metal 3D Printing over Traditional Processes

Combining all advantages

Generally, it is costly to manufacture large and intricate parts using traditional methods like forging, which require massive, expensive machinery and substantial energy to run. Additionally, the manufacturing process can take a significant amount of time.
3D printing has some advantages over conventional fabrication processes. It allows engineers and designers to experiment with designs when creating prototypes and make quick adjustments to refine and optimise them. The technology is also more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods because it generates less waste and consumes fewer resources.

  • Design efficient

Additive manufacturing allows for more design efficiency. Creating optimized parts lead to a reduction of the amount of material, for example, hollowing or lattice structures make lighter parts with less material. This has several benefits as you get optimized parts in terms of weight and resistance, and you can reduce the cost.

  • Reduction of waste 

Unlike subtractive manufacturing methods, additive manufacturing results in less material waste. The manufacturing process itself creates less waste as it only uses the amount of material needed to manufacture the object, layer by layer. 

  • Powder reusability

The reusability of the powder is becoming one of the goals of material and 3D printer manufacturers. We can also see it with the example of  Nylon PA11, a biocompatible and plant-based material made from castor oil, also offers a high reusability rate within 3D printing systems with up to 70% reusability, resulting in less waste.

  • Bio-based 3D printing materials

We can observe the development of high-performance 3D printing materials, offering the mechanical properties of traditional manufacturing.

Some bio-based materials such as PLA were already well-known and used with FDM technology. Made from corn starch, this material is also more sustainable in its production. However, if these kinds of materials are interesting to create prototypes, accessing high-performance bio-based materials could totally transform your manufacturing process. The example we will follow in this article is Polyamide 11. A number of different materials can be created from this powder, offering interesting mechanical properties and characteristics for sectors such as automotive, medical, or electronics.

Technologies Used in Metal 3D Printing

At Sculpteo, we offer numerous fabrication technologies, such as SLM/DMLS, Binder Jetting and Metal FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). Each of these technologies has unique advantages; manufacturers can use them to create high-quality parts for various applications.


Selective Laser Melting/Direct Metal Laser Sintering (SLM/DMLS) is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser to melt and fuse powders into complex shapes. This technology is ideal for creating intricate and highly detailed parts. The method is common in the aerospace and medical industry sectors.

Binder Jetting

Binder Jetting is a 3D printing technique that utilises a binding agent to attach metal particles. Sintering is the process’s next step, fusing the particles into one piece to create a solid part. Binder Jetting is a fast and cost-effective way to create items, making it ideal for industrial applications.

Metal FDM

Metal FDM is a relatively new 3D printing technology. It uses a filament made of metal particles to create components. It is similar to the traditional FDM 3D printing technology but with the added benefit of using metal instead of plastic. Fused Deposition Modelling is an affordable and versatile option for creating parts.

Why Choose Sculpteo?

At Sculpteo, we use SLM/DMLS, Binder Jetting, FDM and Wax casting technologies to streamline metal manufacturing operations. Our portfolio offers many options for businesses considering incorporating 3D printing into their production processes. Contact us at our website today if you have any inquiries. Our staff is on standby to help you with all your needs.

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