3D Printing in Metal is Transforming Rapid Prototyping and the Manufacturing of Complex Parts

3D Printing in Metal is Transforming Rapid Prototyping and the Manufacturing of Complex Parts

At Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab, 3D Printing is a skillset and artform our team has mastered over the years, delivering countless projects to clients within a multitude of sectors. However, did you know that we’ve expanded our capabilities and service offerings? With the addition of the Metal X, the Lab offers our clients the ability to 3D print using a variety of metals. This state-of-the-art equipment developed by Markforged creates fully functional, real metal parts – prototypes and end-use parts alike with capabilities that allow for complex features and geometric designs. It is the most accessible way to fabricate complex metal parts in the widest variety of advanced metals, giving clients options that are stronger and more durable than ever before.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur developing a functional prototype or an SME hoping to build low-volume production components, metal 3 printing can decrease costs, promote efficiency, and improve results.


Why 3D print in metal?

Additive manufacturing, and specifically metal 3D printing, is changing the way we fabricate metal components. With less limitations, you can get very creative with your designs. Contrary to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing frees the user from constraints such as geometric complexity, enabling the production of highly complex features that may be cost-prohibitive or impossible to make with traditional metal casting or CNC machining. By eliminating the need for tooling, clients benefit from a lower cost-per-part costs for low volume production runs. 

“Our team understands our clients’ need to develop new components and then iterate them quickly. The addition of the Metal X to the Lab will bring us one step closer to helping SMEs and entrepreneurs push boundaries, validate their designs, and test their ideas faster.”

Joanne Gardner
Director of Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab

3D printing metal parts
3D print accurate, complex and fully functional metal parts in a matter of days.

There are many benefits to 3D printing in metal:

  • Complex Geometries: create parts that contain complex curvatures or lattices
  • Efficiency: print multiple design iterations in one batch
  • Automation: print straight from the design files
  • Strength: produce end-use parts that are built strong mechanically with dynamic properties
  • Rapid Turnaround: 3D print within 72 hours
  • Repeatability: produce consistency to guarantee accurate testing and design iteration
  • No tooling: avoid addition steps related to fixturing or tooling and go straight to printing your part

The Metal X system offers a diverse range of new capabilities for the Lab and our clients. It opens the door to rapid innovation for small and medium companies prototyping their ideas. Thelow cost of batch processing and wide range of materials allows resource constrained SMEs to skip the machining and programming costs related to subtractive manufacture.

The Metal X 3D prints a variety of metals:

  • Stainless Steel – high strength, hard, and corrosion resistant
  • Tool Steel – tough and abrasive resistant
  • Inconel – high temperatures, strength, and low weight
  • Copper – thermal and electrical conductivity, with additional beta testing options!

3D printing in metal could help you meet some of the following goals:

  • Optimize weight distribution
  • Iterate design requirements
  • Create a functional prototype for user testing
  • Showcase the look and feel of your idea to stakeholders
  • Design parts with complex geometries or complex bracketry
  • Deliver a low volume production run with limited tooling
  • Develop a custom or end-of arm tool

A man looking inside a 3D printing machine
“For me, Inconel is a game-changer! Optimal for rough and tough use conditions – it is highly resistant to pressure, oxidation, and corrosion. This material also has an especially high tolerance in extreme heat conditions and can retain tensile strength much better than most varieties of steel. With traditional manufacturing, Inconel is a material reserved for the specialized (big budget) projects, but with the Metal X system, we can offer this amazing material to all our clients. Inconel is the perfect solution for lightweight, high yield strength for companies working in industries such as aerospace and automotive.”

Pablo Arzate
industrial designer

Build custom tools with accuracyA grid of custom tools made by 3D printing

Although most tools are mass produced, many situations call for specialized instruments that are manufactured in low volumes. Traditional manufacturing methods are expensive to use when building low volume, complex parts. By working with the Lab to 3D print metal parts, you can bypass steep overhead costs and print custom parts that are can serve one specialized function.

illustration of an impellerManufacture parts that were once impossible to build

Certain shapes simply can’t be manufactured using traditional methods – the curvature, geometric design, or complexity of pattern are too advanced (and would be too costly to produce). The complexity of design would require multiple passes through various traditional tools and wouldn’t make sense to build. 3D printing in metal is a feasible solution to manufacturing small, complex parts that require strength and stiffness. An example is complex bracketry.

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Let’s discuss how 3D printing in metal can impact your project.
Meet with our experts to learn more.

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