The material can used to make a crack-free, fully dense wear part.
According to the company, one of the major issues affecting the development of high-hardness 3D printed metallic parts is the tendency to develop cracks during part builds. The company worked with a global process development partner to improve the processing of a proprietary NanoSteel alloy with a high volume fraction of borocarbide phases. This successfully produced a fully dense (99.9%) crack-free part with hardness values over 1000 HV, wear resistance comparable to conventionally manufactured M2 tool steels, and a uniform microstructure. These properties were achieved without the need for post-processing such as hot isostatic pressing (HIP) or further heat treatment, reducing production cost and lead times.
“Currently, the material options to produce highly wear-resistant parts through additive manufacturing are limited,” said Harald Lemke, NanoSteel’s general manager of engineered powders. “By extending the reach of steel into markets currently served by WC-Co, ceramics, and other non-ferrous metal matrix metal composites, NanoSteel has the potential to generate cost-efficient wear parts to serve the tooling, mining, energy, and transportation industries in applications such as pumps, bearings, and cutting tools.”