Stainless Steel Metal 3D Printing
Stainless steel is widely used in almost every industry from chemical processing to aerospace. It has excellent corrosion resistance and some alloys are even biocompatible. Precipitation hardened steels are good options when even greater strength and corrosion resistance become critical.
About Stainless Steel Metal 3D Printing
Stainless steel 3D printing is commonly done using DMLS (direct metal laser sintering) technology which works by fusing individual layers of powder together with a laser until the part is complete. Stainless steel parts created with this method have the same density as cast versions of the metal—there are no porosity problems. Solution annealing is not required as parts come off the machine with the necessary properties.
Medical implants and devices, chemical processing components
Excellent corrosion resistance, biocompatible, PH Stainless Steel has excellent strength properties
Parts have a level of anisotropy
Minimum Feature Size
Typically 0.016” - 0.020” (0.406 mm - 0.508 mm )
0.0012” - 0.0016" (0.0305 mm - 0.04064 mm)
0.005” (0.127 mm) is possible for the first inch of height. For every inch thereafter, an additional 0.002” (0.0508 mm) is added to the tolerance.
Max Part Size
10” x 10” x 10” (254 mm x 254 mm x 254 mm)
DMLS Stainless Steel 316L
Stainless steel 316L is a steel alloy that is well known for its exceptional chemical and environmental resistance. This makes it ideal for complex medical applications as well as consumer-grade products. SS316 is however not suitable for temperatures between 427°C and 816°C. Parts made using stainless steel 3D printing can be polished and machined. Typical applications include spectacle frames, turbine blades, and components exposed to corrosive chemicals.
|Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa)||Fatigue Strength (MPa)||Elongation at Break (%)||Hardness (Brinell)||Density (g/cm^3)|
Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa)
640 ± 50
Fatigue Strength (MPa)
530 ± 60
Elongation at Break (%)
40 ± 15
DMLS Stainless Steel 17-4
Stainless steel 17-4 is precipitation-hardened stainless steel with good corrosion resistance and high strength (much higher than that of stainless steel 316L). Further heat treatment can increase the material strength to over 1300 MPa. This material is used in parts that need significant strength but must avoid carbon steel’s propensity for rusting. Surgical instruments are the most common items made from this material.
|Tensile Strength (MPa)||Yield Strength (MPa)||Elongation at Break (%)||Hardness (Brinell)||Density (g/cm3)|
Tensile Strength (MPa)
886 ± 70.4
Yield Strength (MPa)
860.6 ± 75.7
Elongation at Break (%)
19.9 ± 1.2
Stainless steel 3D printing results in parts with a density equal to that of machined steel. They can also be machined or polished in the same fashion.
Standard: Standard finishing refers to the removal of any support structures. The surface of the part is also medium blasted to create a uniform appearance.
CNC Machining or Polishing: In some cases, specific features can be machined or polished using a CNC unit. However, these are evaluated on a case-to-case basis.
Cost-saving Design Tips
To save money when stainless steel 3D printing, consider the following cost-saving tips:
DFM: Design-for-manufacturing (DFM) principles are important. When designing parts for metal 3D printing, make sure that any enclosed areas have holes from which to remove unfused powder after printing.
Material Choice: DMLS stainless steel 3D printing can produce high-strength functional parts, but it is not cheap. Ensure that stainless steel is necessary for your application over cheaper 3D printing metals like stainless steel or composite metals printed with binder jetting.