The NanoSteel Co., a maker of nanostructured steel materials design, announced the successful expansion of the company's engineered powders business into additive manufacturing. By leveraging its uniform metal matrix microstructures in the laser sintering process, the company was able to build a crack-free, fully dense bulk sample. NanoSteel's initial focus in additive manufacturing supports the market need for on-demand, on-site wear parts while addressing the current challenges in 3D printing of high-hardness parts.
NanoSteel's breakthrough overcomes one of the major hurdles to achieving a high-hardness metallic part through additive manufacturing—the tendency to develop cracks during part builds. The company worked with a global process development partner to optimize 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. Importantly, these properties were achieved without the need for post-processing such as hot isostatic pressing (HIP) or further heat treatment, reducing production costs and lead times.