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3D Printing Metal

Page history last edited by Art Sandoval 3 years, 1 month ago



"Possible to metal 3D print parts this small? 

We're hoping for +/- 0.001" type of tolerances...?  


Smallest features are about 0.020" x 0.020"

Only need about 3 sets

Ideally close to stainless steel 304


Red surface is 0.040" dia for scale..."




Protolabs is claiming 20 micron resolution and +/- 0.003" for Stainless with a week turnaround


Hi Art 

It is definitely possible to print parts like that.  Best service I have found for small, tight-tolerance parts is Digital Metal .  They offer a service and also sell machines.  I have some of their sample parts and they are very impressive.  I don't think they can hold every surface to +/- 0.001, but for relatively symmetric items which don't warp too much during sintering I think that may be achievable. Attached is a photo I took of an  m5 screw and nut.  The little hexagonal holes on the screw head are 0.02 across.  Contact Hans Kimblad Hans.Kimblad@digitalmetal.tech - feel free to tell him I sent you.






From: jebuck_1@yahoo.com <jebuck_1@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 12:05 AM
To: 'Bruce Schena' <bschena@gmail.com>; 'James Page' <jamespage01@gmail.com>; 'Art Sandoval' <artsinbox@gmail.com>
Cc: JB <jebuck_1@yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: [design] 3D Printing of Small Metal Parts....


I haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to fix my inability to post to the whole list…

I’ve been out of this for quite a while, but what about exploring printing in super FINE DETAIL to WAX then CASTING it into metal.  Even Shapeways was doing that for the jewelry industry in the not too distant past.  I suspect by now a couple of the good jewelry casting cos are doing this also… 

If you can’t source jewelry industry names, tell me and I will search;  I used to have names for a couple good casting cos… 


Take a look at this example – you all are getting into pretty wild tolerances, but worth checking who is pushing it the furthest.  3dprinting bible at least “used to be” the Wohler’s Report, by Terry Wohlers.  They/ that might be worth checking regarding who is pushing wax the furthest today. 




Art, I do NOT know current tolerances for wax; I do know a few years ago that was definitely “the” way to do detailed metal. IF it were possible to do something as small and as accurately as you need, I would think it may be necessary to create an extension off the outer tip for more repeatable/ reliable casting (possibly even create air tube exits), then cut off that excess in a secondary process.  Same idea as adequately spruing a piece… 


Best to all,



From: design-alumni <design-alumni-bounces@lists.stanford.eduOn Behalf Of Bruce Schena
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 2:10 AM
To: 'James Page' <jamespage01@gmail.com>; 'Art Sandoval' <artsinbox@gmail.com>
Cc: 'stanford design alumni product pbworks' <design-alumni@lists.stanford.edu>
Subject: Re: [design] 3D Printing of Small Metal Parts....


We’ve been struggling to print parts in that size range also. The best we’ve found is 3DMicroprint https://www.3dmicroprint.com/ in Germany, but get out your wheelbarrow full of cash.


Also, be aware that many of the 3D metal printers have some pretty strict design rules regarding overhang angles, dimensions, and such. Best to research your chosen method first, then make changes accordingly. It is nowhere near as “fire and forget” as resin or filament printers these days.


The whole 3D metal printing industry has failed to impress me so far – everything looks like it is made of concrete or has been soaked in an acid bath for a week.


Please, prove me wrong.




On Mon, May 17, 2021 at 11:19 AM Cory Bloome <cory@enthdesign.net> wrote:

Hey Art,
You might want to reach out to HoloAM.  Not sure where they are with development or resolution or material. Evolving rapidly.  They can certainly handle the feature size in metal.  



Hope you’re doing well!


We printed up some DMLS parts a couple of years ago to test some optical fiber holders. See attached. The resolution was better than I expected, and definitely created usable parts. For reference, the length of the ferrules is roughly 12mm, and the fiber is 0.76mm. They printed in 20 micron layers. Cost was roughly $130 each from Protolabs.


Best wishes,



Sascha M. Retailleau, President

Element Product Design, Inc.

415.810.2006 mobile






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