Product designers and engineers have new options for low volume metal production parts with Proto Labs’ new injection-molded metals range.
The 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.
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, expanding the potential applications for parts produced by Proto Labs’ MIM process.
The low-alloy steel materials are expected to be used heavily by the firearms industry for various gun and archery components as well as by automotive engineers for engine and transmission components, and the industrial goods sector during development of hand and power tools, and door and window lock hardware, for example.
The system allows Proto Labs to produce up to 5,000 metal injection moulded end-use parts within 15 days.
“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.
“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.”