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Metal 3D Printing: Who Needs Supports?

Metal 3D Printing: Who Needs Supports?

Written by David

February 11, 2021


In metal 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) there is one dominant technology for printing industrial, production-quality parts: powder bed fusion (PBF). PBF technology is widely used to produce medical implants, gas turbines, aerospace parts and multiple other applications across the dental, energy and automotive sectors. It is the most mature and widely used technology because it can produce production-quality parts that cannot be produced by any other method.


However, PBF has its challenges, one of which is the need for “supports” when printing parts using typical PBF systems. The word “support” can be misleading, especially to those who come from the polymer 3D printing space. Supports in metal 3D printing work counter-intuitively like “anchors” that hold down , rather than hold up, features within the part. This is to prevent a part from distorting from the residual stresses caused by the high processing […]

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