By Josh Perry, Editor
Swedish additive manufacturing and materials technology company Sandvik Additive Manufacturing recently announced the creation of the first 3-D printed diamond composite that has the potential to make the material more accessible for a wide range of industrial applications.
Sandvik has created the world’s first 3-D printed diamond composite. (Sandvik/YouTube)
Using 3-D printing makes it possible to create diamond composites in a wide variety of complex geometric shapes. It was first unveiled at the RAPID + TCT show in Detroit, Mich. in May.
“Diamond is harder than anything else in nature,” the company’s announcement stated. “It is a key component in a large range of wear resistant tools in industry, from mining and drilling to machining and also medical implants. Since 1953 it has been possible to produce synthetic diamond, but since it’s so hard and complicated to machine, it is almost impossible to form complex shapes.”
Sandvik cemented diamond into a “very hard matrix material,” which the company claims will maintain the desired properties of pure diamond but allows it to be 3-D printed. It also claims that the diamond will not need further machining and will be application ready.
The process includes stereolithography in a slurry of diamond powder and a polymer. The technique uses UV light to build the shape layer by layer. Sandvik designed a proprietary post-processing method that turns the new product into a super-hard diamond composite.
It is also a sustainable manufacturing process, according to the company’s announcement. Leftover diamond powder can be reused in another printing.
“The diamond composite has been tested and found to have extremely high hardness, exceptional heat conductivity, while also possessing low density, very good thermal expansion and fantastic corrosion resistance,” the announcement continued.
Learn more about the process in the video below: