Ti64 Titanium Alloy
An alloy of titanium, aluminum and vanadium, the material properties of Ti-6Al-4V (Ti64) - particularly its high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance - make it an ideal material for a wide variety of high-performance applications.
The most commonly-used titanium alloy, Ti64 is the material of choice for a broad range of applications due to its combination of high strength, low density, corrosion resistance, ability to withstand temperatures of nearly 800°C and general biocompatibility.
Often used in the manufacture of aircraft and marine components, power generation and offshore oil and gas extraction, Ti64 has many other applications, including:
Aerospace components, including brackets, frames, nozzles;
Specialty automotive components, including connecting rods and gearboxes for racing;
Prototyping of medical devices, including tweezers, forceps, clamps, suture instruments and more;
Consumer goods, including sporting goods and jewelry;
BDM + Titanium Alloy
The Bound Metal Deposition (BMD) technology of the Desktop Metal Studio System 2 allows users to create titanium parts with complex features, like internal channels, thin ribs and lattices, that would be difficult – if not impossible – to justify creating using traditional methods.
While extreme reactivity and sintering challenges made it a challenge to bring titanium to bound metal 3D printing, that payoff is parts with exceptional material properties, including 730 MPa yield strength, 845 MPa ultimate tensile strength, and 17 percent elongation.
The Studio System also helps make titanium parts more affordable by reducing or even eliminating waste associated with traditional manufacturing processes.
In addition to being expensive, titanium is notoriously difficult to machine. Their complexity, however, means most titanium parts require a great deal of machining, often leading manufacturers to start with a large billet, most of which may be wasted to produce a relatively small part. With printing, by comparison, that waste is all but eliminated, resulting in significant savings.
Ti64 Titanium Alloy Examples
About the Part
A 520g prototype helicopter fixturing bracket redesigned to reduce part weight as much as possible while still maintaining the required functional strength and stiffness.
Using Studio System, engineers were able to redesign the bracket using features – like gyroid lattice infill – that cannot be created with traditional manufacturing methods.
For aerospace applications, weight savings are essential – less weight means more speed and less fuel consumption. The combination of lightweight titanium alloy and the lattice structure reduced the weight of this part by 30 percent as compared to a solid part, from 746g to 520g.
Telescope Focus Ring
About the Part
This 10g focus ring is used to hold a lens in place as part of a mobile telescope that uses multiple motors to position and focus the optics. Printing these rings in titanium ensures the telescope are lightweight, allowing the use of smaller motors, reducing the wear on the components and the overall cost of the assembly.
Since this part is produced in low volumes, investing thousands of dollars in tooing or custom fixturing to produce this part via traditional methods was unjustifiable. With the Studio System, however, as many as six focus rings can be printed in less than 24 hours, and are ready for installation that same week.
The lack of tooling also allows design teams to easily make changes or refinements to the design of the ring – simply update the CAD file and printing can begin immediately.
About the Part
Used to fasten two assemblies together on a drone frame, this coupling was part of a pilot run of drones before moving to mass production, and was manufactured in low volumes of just 15 to 25 parts.
Using the Studio System, the full pilot run was printed to near net shape in less than a week, without the need for tooling. After sintering, only the external thread needed post-processing, with a screw-thread die.
Machining this part, by comparison, would be difficult and time consuming due to deep internal features which would require a deep tool, and the general difficulty of machining titanium due to slow cutting speeds and high tool wear.
Among the central challenges to drone use is battery life, which is directly tied to the weight of the drone. Printing this part in titanium allowed the coupling to be as light as possible – just 102g – while maintaining strength.
Powerline Adjuster Tool
About the Part
This tool is produced in extremely low volumes of just five to 10 parts per year, making it an ideal part for printing on the Studio System.
Unlike machining, which would require a highly skilled machinist to cut the gear teeth and multiple machining set-ups, the Studio System eliminates the need for tooling or fixturing, making production as easy as the push of a button.
Used by power line operators who often need to climb utility poles and may find themselves working in awkward situations, this tool was printed in titanium to ensure it is light – just 194g – yet still maintains rigidity and resists wear from repeated use.