Step 1:
3D Modeling

Step 2:
Work preparation

Step 3:
3D Printing

Step 4:

Step 5:
Quality control

STEP 1: 3D Modeling

The process of 3D metal printing starts with (developing) a digital 3D model. To do this, we use software such as Creo Elements, Inspire, FEM, Fluid CFD, and topology optimization. If you already have a digital 3D model, you can send it to us in the following file formats: *step, *sat, *3mf, *stl.

If you do not yet have a digital 3D model, we can help you design one using reverse engineering. Based on an existing product, 2D drawing, sketch, or image, our 3D engineers will create a digital model suitable for our printers. We will then advise on possible improvements, choice of material, and printing technique.

For free advice on 3D modeling, please contact our 3D engineers.

STEP 2: Work preparation

Now that the digital 3D model is ready to go, we have to transform it into a file our 3D printer understands. During work preparation, the 3D design is cut into slices equal to the layers that will be printed.

Our printers can print several different models at once. Arranging these parts correctly on the print surface is called nesting. The necessary support structures are applied, and the 150 parameters are set correctly. Lastly, we generate a file that our 3D metal printer can understand using the following software: Materialize Magics, Netfabb, Additive Industries Build Processor, and Inspector.

STEP 3: 3D Printing

Once the transformed 3D file is checked, the choice of material is determined, and all preparations are made, the actual printing starts. The 3D file is processed by our MetalFAB1 printer, and the model is built up layer by layer from metal powder that is fused together with lasers. The printed products are printed onto a building board before being removed from the building board with a band saw or wire sparker. The models are now ready for the next step.

STEP 4: Finishing

At the client’s request, the model can be post-processed in various ways. We offer these surface treatments: tumbling, blasting, shot peening, polishing, electro (chemical) polishing, gold plating, chrome plating, hard chrome plating, anodizing, and Teflon plating. If desired, we can add a high-quality protective coating to the model. In addition to these surface treatments, we offer mechanical treatments such as 5-axis CNC machining, conventional turning, and grinding. 

STEP 5: Quality control

During all steps of the printing process, quality is a top priority at K3D. This also applies to the last phase: quality control. We check each printed model’s dimensions, roughness, and density. We also ensure quality during the printing process through continuous raw material analysis (a report of the most important parameters such as oxygen level, temperature, etc.) and printing of proof samples to determine the density and mechanical properties.

Depending on specific quality requirements, we perform various analyses, such as powder analyses, and report on the printing process and measurements of geometry, density, and mechanical properties. 

Finally, K3D can 3D scan printed products with a GOM scan. Using this method, we can accurately check complex shapes and compare their printed geometry with the original CAD design.

K3D has already supplied various products to the high-tech industry, aerospace, and offshore, each with the necessary traceability and documentation.

Download our technical brochure
We can help you
Stijn Luttikholt
Jimmy Gies