New to 3D Printing?

(Questions from our Twitter Followers)

What is Additive Manufacturing and its uses?

3D printing, Additive Manufacturing (AM), or Rapid Prototyping (RP) is the process of fabricating objects by building materials by adding layers with the help of a 3D modeling software such as AutoCAD. This differs from traditional manufacturing techniques such as casting, molding, or subtracting materials from an existing starting material.

What materials are used in 3D printing?

Plastics or resins, metals and alloys such as titanium Ti-6Al-4V alloy and sterling silver, and ceramic materials such as oxides and nitrides. These materials are typically in powdered form, although alternatives like inks may also be used.

Which industries use 3D printing?

Industries that currently used 3D printing include aerospace and aircraft, automotive, biomedical devices, dental, consumer electronics, and defense, pharmaceutical manufacturing, photovoltaics, space, jewelry, and consumer goods manufacturing.

What are the advantages of 3D printing?

3D manufacturing is cost and time efficient; allows for the fabrication of customizable, complex designs that would be impossible to produce via casting or machining, in addition to requiring no tooling. Because the volume of material used (and thus waste material generated) is much lower than in traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques, 3D printing is becoming increasingly important green technology.

What are the different 3D printing techniques?

3D printing techniques include Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), selective laser sintering (SLS), Powder bed technologies such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM), and Precision inkjet printing; Blown powder technologies such as Laser Metal Deposition or Laser cladding. Methods can include various types of sintering and extrustion.

Is it possible to 3D print graphene foam?

Yes! 3D graphene foam is typically produced via chemical vapor deposition, but researchers have been able to 3D print low-density graphene foam by using a mixture of nickel and sucrose and a CO2 laser. Read more about the experiment at

American Elements is the leading manufacturer of advanced materials for additive manufacturing (AM), 3D printing, and rapid prototyping (RP) in the aerospace, automotive, biomedical devices, dental, consumer electronics, and defense industries.

American Elements manufactures water and gas atomized, spherical metallic powders and spray-dried ceramic powders with consistent microstructure and tightly controlled morphology and particle size distributions tailored to the unique requirements of our customers. Our powder products are engineered to be agglomerate-free with extremely low oxygen and carbon content, high strength-to-weight ratios, enhanced flowability and processability, and optimal performance for a variety of additive manufacturing techniques. Our efficient production processes and high-tech materials allow economical production of innovative components according to the very highest industry standards compliant with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. We also custom produce novel materials to customer specifications for research and continuing innovation.

In addition to supplying materials, American Elements offers in-house additive manufacturing services including direct and selective metal laser sintering, selective laser melting, blown powder techniques, and precision inkjet printing and to produce concept models, functional prototypes and finished parts for our customers. Our engineers can assist with all stages of the 3D printing process, from design and materials selection to testing and certifying the final product. Let our materials and additive manufacturing expertise help bring your product concepts to life.

3D printed metallic foam utilizing American Elements aluminum-bronze alloy powder

The world's largest catalog of metals, alloys, and ceramic powders for additive manufacturing

Innovation Case Study #29: American Elements Formulates Custom Alloy Powder for Additive Manufacturing

#29: American Elements Formulates Custom Alloy Powder for Additive Manufacturing

The Challenge

RPM Innovations specialized in laser freeform manufacturing, a high temperature additive manufacturing (3D printing) technique. One of their projects required a highly corrosion-resistant metallic powder with a specific particle size, and they turned to American Elements to determine the material best suited to their requirements.

The Innovation

Utilizing their broad experience with 3D printing materials, American Elements engineers investigated numerous alloy powders composed of different ratios to meet the demanding specifications of the application. The engineers determined that a unique blend of nickel chromium was the best-performing material under the conditions that the laser deposition required.

The Result

Initial testing proved that the nickel chromium powder performed as expected, and RPM was able to satisfactorily produce the finished product in a timely and cost-effective manner.

View more American Elements products for the aerospace industry.Aerospace

Turbines, propellers, rocket engine and satellite components, thrusters, interior parts, hardware and control systems for aircrafts, tools for fabricating composite parts, strong and lightweight components that enhance aerodynamics and increase fuel efficiency.

See Additive Manufacturing Materials for the Aerospace Industry

View more American Elements products for the automotive industry.Automotive

Rapid prototyping for OEMs, custom ergonomic tooling, engine components, cylinder heads, spark plugs, intake manifolds, drive shafts, brake discs, interior components, lightweight vehicle body designs incorporating aluminum and carbon fiber to improve fuel efficiency, complex components, high performance racing car parts, classic and rare car parts

See Additive Manufacturing Materials for the Automotive Industry

View more American Elements products for the defense industry.Defense

Modular firearms and weapon parts, optical devices, prototypes, gas mask components, new armor materials, advanced robotics, ammunition, drones, explosive device research, surveillance equipment, vehicle components, battlefield surgical kits, portable printing ability in the field

View more American Elements products for the dentistry industry.Dentistry

Dental restorations, custom implants, surgical drill guides, temporary ceramic crowns, bridges, orthodontic models and molds, surgical tools

View more American Elements products for the electronics industry.Electronics

Electronic device prototypes and finished products, flexible, organic, and printed electronics, circuit components, conformal sensors, antennae, semiconductor packaging, metallic interconnects

See Additive Manufacturing Materials for the Electronics Industry

View more American Elements products for the medical device industry.Medical Devices

Biocompatible ceramic and metal implants, leg braces, hip and knee replacements, custom prosthetics, bone and tissue scaffolds, bioresorbable materials, orthopedic implants, robotic limbs, hearing aids, custom surgical tools, cast replacements, wearable sensors and devices

View more American Elements products for the jewelry industry.Jewelry & Fashion

Precious metal and alloy finished pieces, rings, necklaces, watch components

View more American Elements products for the fuel cell industry.Fuel Cells

Solid-state ceramic anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)