This technical information has been contributed byMAPLE PLAIN, Minn.—Product designers and engineers can now get injection-molded low-alloy steel prototypes and low-volume production parts at rapid manufacturer Proto Labs, Inc., the company announced recently. The technology-driven company has added two nickel steel materials (Catamold FN02 and FN0205) and a chrome-moly material (Catamold 42CrMo4) that is the metal injection molding (MIM) equivalent of 4140 steel. The new metals expand the potential applications for parts produced by Proto Labs’ advanced MIM process.
Proto Labs, Inc.
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Proto Labs Introduces Low-Alloy Steel to Metal Injection Molding
A fully dense component produced by metal injection molding sits atop metal feedstock.
“We’ve had tremendous customer demand for stainless steel with MIM last year, and expect the same response to our new low-alloy metals,” said Becky Cater, Proto Labs’ product manager for MIM, in a press release. “We offer many different hard and soft metals through our 3D printing and CNC machining services at Proto Labs, but nickel steel is only produced through metal injection molding. This material boost will inherently let our customers do more things in the realm of low-volume metal manufacturing.”
Low-alloy steel creates strong, wear-resistant metal parts when heat-treated and is able to be to be coated in post-processing for further protection. As for applications, the low-alloy steel materials will be used heavily by the firearms industry for various gun and archery components, by automotive engineers for engine and transmission components, and by the industrial goods sector during development of hand and power tools, as well as door and window lock hardware, for example.
In addition to rapid prototypes, Proto Labs (www.protolabs. com) can produce up to 5,000+ metal injection molded end-use parts within 15 days. The complex multi-step MIM process is explained in a comprehensive white paper at protolabs.com.
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