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2020 The Best Metal 3D Printing Services – Buying Guide

If calculated precisely, the global value of industries that rely on metal processing easily exceeds trillions of dollars.

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So when 3D printing was invented, it wasn’t difficult to guess that 3D metal printing would one day become so widespread. The advance in technologies in every area has been cherry over the cake.

Companies that have been huge names in metal processing have found a new area of interest for them in additive manufacturing.

As additive manufacturing is a growing sector, those companies are yet to achieve the height that they have achieved in conventional metal processing, in this sector.

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The technologies used by these companies depend on the type of material they used. It can be either fused or sintered.

Bound together or raw, but in general, the starting material is always a metal powder. Without making you wait longer, let’s take a look at the recommendations.

7 Best Metal 3D Printing Services

Providing additive Metal 3D printing services is a segment that is growing worldwide. As mentioned above, this list is based on a sum up of certain criteria and so there might be exceptions.

Craftcloud

craftcloud

This platform understands that metal 3D printing service needs differ from customer to customer. One might need a new prototype and the other might need to test a particular prototype.

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A manufacturer might need to evaluate the mechanical properties of different materials, while a small business owner operating in additive manufacturing might have a requirement for a unique part.

After visiting Craftcould’s website, you get proof of the claim made in the first sentence. Craftcloud is one such website that helps every kind of customer in getting guiding light for the accomplishment of his/her task.

After working all these years, Craftcloud has partnered with the best customers as well as standard metal 3D printing service providers in the world.

It is because of this reason that Craftcloud is able to differentiate which one is best at which time for which customers.

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Metal 3D printing service providers worldwide, differ in terms of their pricing, lead time, and additional fees. Craftcloud helps you generate a quote based on your model and location.

Using Craftcloud one can start simply by selecting the metal, followed by selecting the finish in which he/she wants the prototype or part. The selection can also start with the sequence reversed.

Craftcloud stands out in its competition because of its huge professional network and support staff. Craftcloud has partnered with designers and engineers all over the world that can help you to get a design or modify one if you wish to.

It is because of providing users with such features that, Craftcloud have found the number one place in our list of top 5 metal 3D printing services.

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Shapeways

shapeways.com 3d printing service

Originated from the Netherlands, currently based in the USA, Shapeways offers high-class metal 3D printing services online.

From its inception, Shapeways hasn’t focused on a single industry like other providers or manufacturers in the field of additive manufacturing generally do. Shapeways’ perspective is always been project-wise.

They offer their service without seeing whether the concerned client needs the part for automotive, dentistry, jewelry, aerospace, or any other.

Shapeways’ only focus is to deliver high-class metal 3D printing services to their clients. Zverse is the name of the partner of Shapeways.

Their partner enables a person without any experience in 3D metal printing, to start making their own designs. Especially for 3D metal printing, Shapeways has collaborated with ExOne and so it uses their 3D printers.

The online ordering system of Shapeways is extremely user-friendly as well as technical. Often companies either get too user-friendly or too technical, Shapeways has maintained neutrality.

The technical information related to the metals which they use for 3D metal printing is nicely mentioned alongside models that are to be printed.

One can easily upload a model that is analyzed in real-time before the presentation that contains options of materials and finishing is made to him/her.

The price for service is calculated based on the selections that are made by the user and quantity. Shapeways claims to offer service worldwide and has different metals available as options.

Steel, aluminum, and other precious metals can be used as materials available for 3D metal printing. The technologies for by which Shapeways offer 3D metal printing are Metal binder jetting, direct metal printing, and SLM.

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3D Hubs

3D Hubs - On-demand Manufacturing_ Quotes in Seconds, Parts in Days_ - www.3dhubs.com

This Dutch company has amazed everyone by covering large geography. 3D Hubs’ model is a tad bit different than other 3D metal printing services.

The company is an important platform that connects manufacturers of 3D parts with each other. Because 3D Hubs has a strong presence over a wide geography, it gives them the power to given selection criteria only to professional companies.

They have formed a network of all these professional companies. This business model is highly beneficial for metal 3D printing service providers because professional companies with similar requirements can supply each other with functional prototypes and parts.

However, there is also a downside to this model. No small scale companies are allowed to enter the market which makes this a little less customized.

So whenever there is a need for customized 3D metal printing, one might have to wait a little bit longer than one needs to in an open business model.

Apart from 3D metal printing, 3D Hubs offers metal 3D printing online services in all the major techniques such as CNC machining, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication.

The specific metal 3D printing technique that they specialize in is Direct Metal Laser Sintering. Materials offered by 3D Hubs are aluminum and stainless steel metal powders.

There is one more anomaly offered by 3D Hubs and i.e. their quote platform is less negotiable than other service providers. But they offer a quick process and delivery time.

So if you upload the design and the analysis is done on the spot. In the next step, you can select the desired material, and a price too would be displayed on-screen within a few seconds after which you can also select the delivery time.

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3D Systems

3D Printers, 3D Scanning, Software, Manufacturing and Healthcare Serv_ - www.3dsystems.com

This company is credited with inventing widely applied SLA technology in additive manufacturing. Though based in the USA, they have a vast coverage network worldwide which covers all the major global networks.

Apart from 3D metal printing, the company also offers services in other spectra such as hardware and software support.

Going onto their website can tell you that the industries that they serve are several. However, special attention is provided to those who demand more prototyping and molding.

They reflect a good example of how 3D metal printing online can be incorporated with multiple prototypes. To do so, they illustrate this by showing metal printing in the rapid prototyping service as well as low production service.

3D Systems’ ordering system is heterogeneous. The website is not open to all and requires login. You are only able to request a quote if you have a login and not otherwise.

The available metals with which you can design on 3D systems are Steel, aluminum, nickel, and cobalt-chrome. Whereas the technologies that are offered for 3D metal printing online using these websites are metal binder jetting and direct metal printing.

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Star Rapid

star-Rapid-3d-printing

This company is based in Zhongshan, China. Along with 3D metal printing, they offer CNC machining, injection molding and pressure die casting.

Specific industries that Star Rapid focuses on are agriculture, medicine, electronics, and consumer products. Although having their presence all over the USA, Europe, Asia, and China (of course), they haven’t yet set up a production plan anywhere else except China.

Access to their 3D metal printing service is access to metal materials like aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, and maraging steel.

They print majorly using Direct Metal Laser Sintering on Reinshaw printers. The unique nature of the site lies when you get to see that in post-processing, they allow users to combine 3D printing with CNC milling.

Star Rapid also provides basic information about 3D metal printing online such as design tips for designers, material information, and printing information.

There is a specific complaint about the company’s quoting system. Users have come up with a prediction that this is not an automatic quoting system, but a manual quoting system.

This is because they take too much time once you’ve asked for a quote. Also, they reach out to you only when they have a specific proposal in hand.

The available metals for 3D metal printing using this website are Steel, aluminum, and titanium. The technology that they use for this is Direct Metal laser sintering.

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Digital Metal

digital metal 3d printing

This is a company that’s based in Sweden. Part of the huge Hoganas Group that manufactures metal powders, Digital Metal use their own binder jetting technology that they distribute their own 3D metal printing machines.

Digital Metal offers on-demand and custom 3D metal printing services as well. Aerospace, dental and Luxury goods are three industries that the company primarily serves to.

It is worth noting, how, with a single production site based in Sweden, they primarily serve Europe, the USA, Brazil, and Japan.

The core strength of Digital Metal lies in manufacturing small and complex parts that are unconventional. Another eccentricity of this company is the material offering in 3D metal printing. Steel, Iron, titanium, and their alloys are what the users can choose from. ‘

When it comes to ordering the company has relied on the conventional ordering that is done via a salesperson.

Clients can send their files that will be accessed by the company’s engineers who will provide the feasibility and cost information.

If you are someone who is regularly used to standard website holding companies that let you order freely, you will find this company a little odd. But the company makes it even by offering high-quality 3D metal printed parts and prototypes.

The technology used by Digital Metal is Metal binder jetting. Although you might sense that the company would take a longer time than other standard companies that offer to order online.

But the overall time is almost the same. This company offers a fair amount of response time when seen that they offer to order only via salesperson.

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GE additive

GE additive

This company specializes in offering its own 3D metal printing technologies. Owned by General Electric, GE additive has grown its merger and acquisition with Arcam and Concept Laser.

The company’s material consultancy and training service is their bonus point. The primary industries in which the company targets their 3D metal printing customers are medical, automotive, aerospace, military, and dental.

GE additive too, like Digital Metal, isn’t available online. Globally they operate through offices and in the USA, Europe they have some production centers.

The metals which are offered by GE additive to its 3D metal printing consumer are Steel, aluminum, titanium, nickel, and their alloys. The technologies used by this company for providing metal 3D printing service are, EBM and DMLS.

The Conclusion

In this article, the list of best 7 companies that offer 3D metal printing services is determined based upon various factors.

Geographic coverage of the company, the types of metals that the company offers, the technology by which it does 3D metal printing, the company’s service portfolio, its speed of response, and finally pricing.

You might have seen that we have not kept this article limited by keeping on a list of those companies that offer services online.

This is because we want designers and engineers and even newbies to judge a company based on the quality of service and product that it offers and not based on whether it offers an online service or not.

The main part of 3D metal printing services is the quoting part where even big names in the market fail to offer a satisfactory solution. This is where the list can be fruitful to you.

All of these companies are known for sticking to their quotes. They take time, sometimes more than their competitors, but once they have known the requirement, they work hard to deliver

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Editorial Team

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