3D Printing for Titanium Alloy

3D-print titanium alloy
In recent years, 3D printing has become a popular production process. Based on computer model files, it produces objects layer by layer utilizing sticky materials such as powdered metal or plastic. In contrast to conventional manufacturing technology, the 3D printing approach integrates digital information technology with manufacturing technology. On the basis of a 3D model of any component, complex 3D objects with any shapes can be easily fabricated without the use of specific molds. This is a crucial aspect of the metal forming process. In recent years, its user-friendliness, precision, and low price have all led to its rapid growth. Titanium alloy is one of the most frequently used materials for 3D printing, with applications in a range of fields.


Medical Field

Titanium is known as a “biological” metal, with non-toxic, harmless, high temperature resistance, high corrosion resistance, high strength, low density, good biocompatibility, and other advantages.Moreover, elastic modulus is close to that of human tissue, occupying around fifty percent of the medical metal field. Currently, orthopaedics and dentistry use titanium alloys most frequently for 3D printing.

Titanium sternum by 3D printing
Titanium sternum by 3D printing
Orthopedics that are appropriate for 3D technology include bone replacement prostheses etc. Direct fabrication of titanium alloy prosthetic bone is possible using 3D printing technology. Surgically implanted, it can achieve the effect of real human bone. In July 2015, the Tangdu Hospital thoracic surgery department successfully implanted a 3D-printed titanium alloy sternum for a patient with a sternal tumor. After surgery, the patient recovered without any complications. The surgery marked the world’s first 3D-printed titanium alloy sternum implantation.
In dentistry, 3D printing technology is used to produce dental-related implant parts, such as dental crowns, dental bridges,dental pins etc.

Mold Field

3D Printing Mold
Titanium mold by 3D printing
In the world of molds, 3D printing offers numerous benefits. In contrast to conventional production methods, 3D printing is computer-controlled and may adhere precisely to the 3D software layout to manage the size. There is no production route limit for complex items, which can significantly minimize the time required for model and mold preparation. It can enhance model precision and quality while reducing costs and saving time.

Aerospace Field

3D printing titanium aerospace parts
Titanium aerospace parts by 3D printing
The primary goals of study and production of aircraft equipment have always been “lightweight” and “high strength.” 3D-printed titanium alloy components completely meet these standards.


  • The 3D printing technique can generate a range of complex-shaped components, cut manufacturing time, and lower production costs.

In aircraft applications, the use of titanium 3D-printed components can save purchase costs. A term derived from the aerospace industry refers to the correlation between the weight of the purchased material and the weight of the final product.

In conventional production, the buy-to-sell ratio for titanium airplane parts, for instance, can range between 12:1 and 25:1. Therefore, 1 kilogram of parts requires 12 to 25 kg of raw materials.

Metal 3D printing might cut the titanium ratio from 12:1 to 3:1. This is because metal 3D printers typically use only the amount of material necessary to create a product, and the supporting framework generates minimal waste. Cost savings for pricey materials, such as titanium, are less relevant than reduced procurement costs.

  • Titanium’s lightweight qualities can be enhanced by topology optimization in additive manufacturing.

Engineers utilize topology optimization software to establish requirements such as load and stiffness limitations.Then, software tools optimize the initial design to fulfill these requirements.

With this optimization, all extraneous materials may be eliminated from the design, resulting in a lightweight and resilient component. Typically, topological optimization designs can only be created via additive manufacturing methods.

This advantage is particularly beneficial to the aerospace industry, as lightweight 3D-printed titanium components may reduce aircraft weight and enhance aircraft performance.

  • Additionally, 3D printing can be utilized to directly create and repair items. Aerospace components are expensive and have a sophisticated construction. When errors or flaws arise, losses can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. 3D printing saves time and money by using the same material to correct the problem and build a full shape.


3D Printing-Titanium Component
Complex titanium parts by 3D printing

While 3D printing with titanium offers various benefits, it also presents some challenges.

  • The necessity of defining standards for the additive manufacturing of titanium. There are already businesses working in this route.
  • The expense of titanium powder is the second difficulty.

Titanium powder suitable for 3D printing, for instance, costs between $300 and $600. In the aerospace, medical, and automotive industries, 3D titanium printing has shown to be a vital technology. Titanium’s exceptional characteristics, paired with 3D printing’s capacity to eliminate waste and produce intricate, lightweight designs, are the key reasons.

As the price of titanium falls and more applications are identified, 3D printing with titanium will become an appropriate manufacturing option for a variety of sectors in the future.
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