Reposted from Design News Ann R. Thryft, Senior Technical Editor, Materials & Assembly Aug 2, 2013

The ability to make metal production parts via 3D printing and additive manufacturing has taken many people by surprise. This is made evident by some of the comments made to Design News blogs about end user parts that were 3D printed using a variety of metals and alloys.

The use of additive or direct manufacturing to make final production parts (not just models or prototypes) is growing in several industries. Exotic metals like titanium and cobalt-chrome alloys are being used to create patient-specific medical and dental implants faster and cheaper than would be possible using traditional methods. Aerospace engineers such as those working to design and build rocket engine parts are attracted to 3D printing and other additive methods because they makes processes faster, cheaper, and sometimes possible.

One company clearly impressed by these methods is 3D Systems. Last month, it finalized its acquisition of Phenix Systems, a French maker of equipment for direct laser sintering with metal and ceramic materials.

Click the image below to start a slideshow on Phenix’s offerings.

215332_059132Phenix Systems

Slideshow: 3D Systems Gets Metal, Ceramic Processes