A little more than a year since their last material release (4140 Chromoly Steel), Desktop Metal has now further expanded on their material portfolio for the Studio System with the release of Pure Copper.
With its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, copper is ideal for transferring heat or electricity and is used in virtually every electronic device made, as well as in many of the heat exchangers used across a variety of industries, including oil and gas, automotive, and consumer products.
Typical usage include:
- Electrical equipment
- Plumbing equipment
- Heat transfer applications
- Consumer and industrial electronics
- Heat exchangers
One key benefit is that pure copper is used with the Studio System which unlocks the full potential of the material such as thermal and electrical conductivity. This is unlike laser-based processes that prints with chromium zirconium copper.
Copper joins 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, 316L Stainless Steel, H13 Tool Steel, and 4140 Chromoly Steel as core materials available for use with the Studio System now. Among the 6 core materials first announced for the Studio System, Alloy 625 is now the only remaining material under development.
Application Example #1 – EGAR Electrode Holder
This electrode holder is used to hold electrodes in position during resistive nut welding. Electrodes are consumable and need to be replaced quickly and affordably when they wear out to keep the manufacturing line up and running.
Printing allows for the rapid fabrication of copper components like this electrode holder with ideal electrical and thermal conductivity properties.
Internal conformal cooling channels (can only be done via AM) help bring down the the temperature of the electrode more quickly. Besides producing a better weld, it also reduces wear on the electrode.
Application Example #2 – Motor Heat Sink
A heat exchanger helps to dissipate heat from an electric motor, and keeps it at an ideal operating temperature.
Using the Studio System, the heat exchanger can be printed to perfectly conform to the motor shape to allow for more efficient heat movement.
The tall, thin fins are challenging due to chattering as the fins are cut – but 3D printing allows for it to be manufactured with ease.
Application Example #3 – Helical Heat Exchanger
Used to cool hot gas flowing through a pipe, this heat exchanger featuring helical internal cooling channels is typically found in chemical processing.
The complex geometry of the channel can only be made through additive manufacturing. When combined with the external fins, the heat exchanger enables a much higher heat transfer rate compared to traditional heat exchangers.
Application Example #4 – Bus Bar
Used for local high current power distribution, the bus bar features internal conformal cooling passages running through the core.
Multi-part assembly would be required to create the final part if manufactured via traditional methods which would take weeks.
But with the Studio System, the bus bar can be easily printed as a single part – complete with internal cooling features – in just a few days.