Best 3D Printers that Print Metal

Which is the best 3d printer for metal? How much do metal 3D printers cost? Read on to find out.

Metal 3D printers are sought after by both hobby makers and commercial players. There are are number of 3D printers that work with steel and other metals. However, these printers are often expensive because of the advanced technology they employ.

There are also several companies that offer metal 3D printing services. The companies allow you to order 3D printed models online or at their shops.

In this guide, we’ll go through metal 3D printing technology, and highlight the best metal 3D printers on the market. Let’s get started.

History of Metal 3D Printing

The metal 3D printing industry has come a long way. The technology first hit the headlines in 1994 when EOS developed and released the EOSINT M250, which is considered the first 3D metal printer.

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However, the machine had a few downfalls, like an inability to melt individual metal particles. As a result, it has to be updated. The updated metal 3D printer was the more efficient EOSINT M270, which was launched in 2004.

Since then, manufacturers have leveraged technological advancements to develop super-efficient metal 3D printers. These modern machines use a technology known as metal additive manufacturing, which makes them faster, more powerful, and generally handy. Also, the 3D printers can handle a wider range of printing materials than their predecessors.

The benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) cannot be denied. The technology is cost-effective and less wasteful than older technologies like wielding. The technology is often used to create complex designs, which can be difficult to develop using other metal fabrication processes like casting, forging, or machining.

Many businesses are jumping into AM because of its advantages. In particular, players in the aerospace and automotive industries are the fastest adopters of AM, and arguably the greatest beneficiaries.

The increasing demand for additive manufacturing has led to the growth of metal 3D printing industry in recent years. The industry is expected to grow from the current $18.33 billion to about $83.90 billion in 2029. Such massive growth means we will see more releases of metal 3D printers.

But before we continue, let’s find out what to keep in mind if you are interested in additive manufacturing.

Choosing an Additive Manufacturing Solution

To find a solution that suits your business, consider your budget and the requirements of your project. Depending on your situation, it may be better to rent rather than buy your own metal 3D printer. In other instances, you may find it economical to outsource the 3D printing of your metal parts.

Below is a primer of metal 3D printing.

Metals and Materials

The most common metal 3D printers are those that handle steel, brass and bronze. Conventional 3D printers prints with 3D filaments like ABS or PLA. These materials are used to produce plastic prototypes, toys, and other advanced structured 3D models.

With metal 3D printers, the materials used as as indicated; metals.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the cheapest and strongest metals for 3D printing. The versatile metal is used in art and design projects, but also in industrial contexts. Steel contains nickel and cobalt, which give it elastic properties while still ensuring it is hard to break.

2. Titanium

Another widely used material for metal prints is titanium, usually Ti64or TiAl4V. Titanium is versatility and, therefore, can print items of different strengths.

The metal is mostly used in the medical field to make 3D printed prosthetics, and in the automotive industry and the aerospace industry for the production of prototypes and parts.

3. Cobalt Chromium

Cobalt is a high-strength metal alloy used to make dental implants, turbines and orthopedic implants. The metal is commonly used in 3D printing in medicine, and has become a popular manufacturing method.

4. Aluminum

Aluminum is light and versatile, making it a popular metal to use for 3D printing. It is primarily used for aluminum-based alloys.

5. Copper and bronze

Copper and bronze are used mostly in wax casting processes. The two metals are usually not used in powder-based techniques and, therefore, are not the top choices for industrial projects. Instead, they are used more commonly in arts and crafts.

6. Gold, silver and other precious metals

Metals like gold, silver and other precious metals are mostly used by powder-based 3D printers. This is a difficult process because the 3D printer needs to handle valuable powder while retaining the material’s properties.

3D prints of precious metals are used primarily for medical, jewelry and electronics applications.

Application of Metal 3D Prints

3D printed metals have many applications in different industries, including healthcare (dental), consumer (jewelry) and electronics, among others.

Most metal 3D printers are designed for commercial applications. This explains why they are expensive than consumer 3D printers. However, there are also a few printers that are designed for the broader consumer market.

How Metal 3D Printers Work

Printing metal objects works in the same way as printing plastic objects. However, here the temperatures are completely different from what normal plastic filament 3D printers can manage.

The working principle is the same; the printhead sprays out a layer of molten metal, which solidifies and into an object based on the digital file sent to the 3D printer.

Printing With Metal Powder

There is also another method of printing metal that does not require the same high temperatures. With this method, instead of molten metal, metal powder used.

When the metal powder is sprayed, the resulting layers of metal bond together into a uniform mass. This is repeated layer by layer until the entire print item is ready. Depending on the size and complexity of the model, the printing  process may take several hours.

Metal powders can be printed by cheaper machines. However, the material won’t be usable as an end product. For the model to be used, it must put into a melting furnace with a temperature of about 175 degrees for 24 hours, just like ceramics.

After the model has been printed, it is porous and full of air. The air spaces has to be filled with molten metal in the furnace to make the model strong.

3D Printing Metal at Home

Before metal 3D printers become available for the consumer market, there is always the possibility of casting metal into molds. This is an old, well-proven method that has been used for centuries.

But printing some metal items at home would undoubtedly be a lot easier – and more fun! So, when can we expect metal 3D printers for ordinary home use?

Unfortunately, most metal printers currently hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is a high price for printing a few teaspoons and towel hooks. However, metal 3D printers for home use could become reality within a not so distant future. For example, Shapeways allows individuals to print metal models with metal printers.

We will see how long it takes and what the final price will be for the metal 3d printer for the home user. Until then, we have to rely on other external methods.

With that out of the way, here’s a round-up of the best metal 3D printers on the market today.

Best Metal 3D Printers

Brand Product Build Envelope (mm) Technology Feedstock Country Price
TRUMPF TruPrint 1000


100 x 100 x 100 Laser Powder Bed Fusion ( LPBF) Metal Powder Germany $170,000


100 X 100 X 95 Laser Powder Bed Fusion(LPBF) Metal powder Germany  $350,000
3D Systems DMP Flex 100 100 x 100 x 90 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder United States $150,000





DMG Mori Lasertec 12 SLM


125 x 125 x 200 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder Germany $>500,000
Desktop Metal Shop System 350 x 220 x 200 Binder Jetting Metal powder United $150,000
GE Additive X Line 2000R 800 x 400 x 500 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal Powder United States $250,000
Optomec LENS CS 250


250 x 250 x 250 Direct Energy Deposition (DED) Metal powder United States From $200,000
Desktop Metal


(ExOne) InnoventX 160 x 65 x 65 Binder Jetting Metal powder United States $250,000
SLM Solutions SLM 125 125 × 125 × 125 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder Germany $400,000 to 500,000
Renishaw RenAM 500Q


245 x 245 x 335 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (SLM/DLMS) Metal powder United Kingdom $250,000
Digital Metal DM P2500


203 x 180 z 69 Binder Jetting Metal powder Sweden $250,000
Hewlett-Packards (HP) Hp Metal Jet


430 x 320 x 200 Binder Jetting Metal powder United States $400,000
Xi’an Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) BLT S210


105 x 105 x 200 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal Powder China Upon request


Sapphire 315 x 315 x 1000 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal Powder United States >$500,000
Farsoon Technologies


FS121M 120 x 120 x 100 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal Powder United States >$500,000
Rapidia Metal Designlab 200 x 280 x 150 Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Bound powder filament United States $100,000
Markforged Metal X(Gen 2) 300 x 220 x 180 FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) Bound powder filament United States $99,500
Desktop Metal Studio System 2 300 x 200 x 200 FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling Bound powder filament United States $110,000

Best Metal 3D Metal Printers: Honorable Mentions at a Glance

Brand Product Build Envelope size (mm) Technology Feedstock Country Price
XJet Carmel 700 501 × 140 × 200 Material Jetting Metal and ceramic Israel $599,000
Pollen AM


Pam Series MC


⌀ 300 x 300 Pellet Additive Manufacturing(PAM) Metal and ceramic France $140,000
Triditive AMCELL ⌀ 300 x 350 Automated Multi-material Deposition (AMD) Metal and polymers Spain Upon request
GE Additive M2 Series 5 250 x 250 x 300 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder United States Upon request
GE Additive


Arcam EBM Spectra L 350 × 350 × 430 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder United States Upon request
SPEED3D WarpSPEED3 ⌀ 1000 x 700 Material Jetting Metal powder Australia Upon request
Xcat Metal XM200C 127 x 127 x 127 Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Metal powder United States USD 110, 000
FormAlloy L-Series 1000 x 1000 x 1000 Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Metal powder United States Upon request
Desktop Metal


Production System P-1


200 × 100 × 40 Binder Jetting Metal powder United States Upon request

Best Entry-Level 3D Metal Printers

Although the list in this section features entry-level metal 3D printers, the manufacturing companies also develop larger machines. So, when scalability becomes inevitable, you already have a starting point for your window-shopping needs.

Apart from experimentation, entry-level metal 3D printers are suitable for low volume runs and developing custom parts.

Trumpf TruPrint 1000

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Trumpf is one of the world’s largest machine tools supplier. The firm also has an interest in the metal 3D printing space. If you’re hunting for a printer with LMF (Laser Metal Fusion) and LMD (Laser Metal Deposition, Trumpf is your only go-to place. It’s your only choice because other companies will offer one or the other of the two 3D metal printing technologies.

The firm offers different models under the TruPrint series, including Truprint 1000, 2000, 3000, and Truprint 5000. The TruPrint 1000, however, is said to be the most productive small-format printer. It can print up to 80% more parts than other machines in its category, time remaining constant.

The printer’s multi-laser function facilitates impressive production speed, allowing parallel powder coating alongside laser exposure. The machine’s 100 x 100 x 100 mm build can accommodate four substrate plates. Its automatic change function helps to increase the printer’s runtime.

TruPrint 1000 can process different amorphous metals with great detail assured. You can achieve a minimum layer thickness of 10 microns with parts featuring high elasticity levels and impressive corrosion resistance. The developed components are often lighter, making the machine suitable for manufacturing small industrial parts.

Other attractive attributes include quick setup, ease of use, and ergonomic handling. Besides, the printer features an equally intuitive touch screen to allow remote operation via an app tablet.

EOS M 100

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The EOS M 100 is an entry-level additive manufacturing printer from EOS, a German company founded in 1989. The firm is among the leading manufacturers of 3D printers and also one of the oldest. It offers a wide range of industrial production units featuring different build space sizes and laser power ratings. The EOS catalog can be an excellent solution if you’re looking to expand your printing capabilities.

The M 100 is powered by DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) technology. Given its small build space of 100 X 100 X 95 mm, the printer is ideal for printing tiny parts. Its stable 200 Watt laser efficiently melts and fuses metal powders. The small laser spot offers a fine resolution to help you develop geometrically complex parts.

The M 100 design ensures the machine is as effective as its fast. To achieve that, the printer can churn out many high-precision parts with reduced need for post-processing and cleaning. The quality here is quite consistent. Further, the machine features a modular design complete with a powder bin. So, it’s both an intuitive as well as a low-maintenance metal 3D printer.

Its worth a read that the EOS M100 can take on a limited number of materials (EOS CobaltChrome, EOS StainlessSteel 316L, EOS Titanium Ti64, and Tungsten W1). According to the manufacturer, the EOS M100 is suitable for medical applications with an emphasis on the production of dental crowns and bridges. EOS provides a certified list of medical-safe 3D metal printing materials for the said use.

3D Systems DMP Flex 100

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The 3D Systems is one of the world’s oldest and largest AM equipment manufacturers. Their metal 3D printer catalog features several production units. The DMP Flex 100 is said to be the smallest entry printer on the list. It boasts of a small footprint that easily develops small fine detailed parts with notable precision.

In order to achieve perfect 3D prints, the printer’s build volume of 100 x 100 x 90 mm features a 100 Watt laser. The powerful laser enables the printer to take on a wide range of metal powders, including several Titanium grades.

The All-in-One 3DXpert software helps you to achieve overhangs of up to 20 degrees sans supports. Meanwhile, part surfaces can be as fine as 5 microns (200 Ra micro-inches). Furthermore, sharper corner radiuses are assured. Your parts will require pretty minimal post-processing.

Better surface quality and reduced need for supports mean efficient material usage and quicker production times. In other words, the printer saves you money and time.

Like other trusted additive manufacturing services, 3D systems have their proprietary printing method. 3D systems AM technology is called Direct Metal Printing. It powers the DMP Flex 100 as well as other sister machines. The innovation enables the printer to create a layer on top of another resulting in dense, strong components.

Remember, the DMP Flex 100 prints with its manufacturer’s additive manufacturing powders. Further, the necessary infrastructure is required to accommodate dedicated gas lines for optimal functioning of the printer. When you reach the objective to move up the AM ladder, 3D systems offers five larger 3D metal printers for your consideration.

DMG Mori Lasertec 12 SLM

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DMG Mori is one of the largest AM manufacturing services in Germany. The firm was established in 1948 with a focus on making textile manufacturing equipment which forms the basis of the company’s expertise in the tooling industry, including milling, turning, grinding, equipment, and on-demand metal 3D printers.

DMG Mori also offers a range of AM consulting services like simulation and topology optimization, verifying the printability of parts, engineering new components, redesigning parts for AM, 3D printing of prototypes and small components, as well as AM courses and training services.

Although its initial focus was on DED machines, DMG Mori diversified its portfolio to include hybrid and PBF (Powder Bed Fusion) systems. The Lasertec 12 SLM is among the older innovations from DMG Moris. It was launched as the second machine shortly after the company released the first laser PBF printer, the LASERTEC 30 SLM.

Lasertec 12 SLM offers high levels of flexibility. Its open platform allows for the adjustment of various parameters with minimal hustle. It also allows you to print with different materials, including Aluminum, Cobalt-Chrome alloys, Copper alloys, High-speed steel, Nickel-based alloys, Scalmalloy, Stainless steel, Titanium, and Tool steel.

An APP-based control and touch screen are in place to offer intuitive machine operation. Meanwhile, quick material changes come with a re-PLUG functionality. The module is also responsible for the printer’s use of recycled powder.

Further, an optimized volume gas flow helps with quality control and lowers Argon consumption. That means lesser material wastage, lending you the economic value that’s necessary in the world of metal 3D printing since metal 3D printing costs can be pretty steep.

Layer thickness can be as little as 20 microns, and the laser power can be adjusted from 200 W to 400 W depending on the print requirements. Sample applications push the printer toward the medical, aerospace, and plant engineering industries.

Desktop Metal Shop System

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The Shop System from Desktop Metal is designed to reduce the overall lead -time. It features the SPJ (Single Pass Jetting) technology which is 10X faster than LPBF (Laser Powder Bed Fusion) systems. As a result, the printer builds metal parts within minutes.

The printer boasts over 70 000 nozzles to handle print redundancy challenges like jet-outs, besides helping you to obtain high-quality parts. The nozzles utilize the machine’s Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology to deposit the binder on metal powders resulting in the finest surface finishing.

According to the manufacturer, the Shop System can achieve a post-furnace print quality of up to 4 Ra microns and at least 0.1 Ra microns with mass finishing.

Some 3D metal printers will break down if left to run for extended periods. It’s another reason Desktop Metal opted for SPJ technology. It ensures that the printer can actively print for longer durations.

The Desktop Metal Shop System is compatible with Stainless Steel and Alloys, like 17-4PH Stainless Steel, DM HH stainless steel, 20 stainless steel, nickel alloy IN625 and nickel-chromium super-alloy. Plus, the final prints are often dense and solid, so you can confidently skip de-binding and infilling steps.

If you’re looking to develop high-density products, we recommend the larger P-50 model. Its build volume of 490 x 380 x 260 mm will provide adequate space to execute the job.

Meanwhile, Desktop Metal also has the P-1 model, which has a 200 x 100 x 40 mm chamber. It’s made for smaller production runs, with quality prints assured. In order to cater to scalability needs, the P-1 model allows you to transfer developed parts to the larger P-50 model.

GE Additive X Line 2000R

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The award-winning GE Additive Manufacturers offering comprises two distinct lines of metal 3D printers: Concept Laser SLM and Arcam EBM series. The former was founded in 2000 and joined GE Additive in 2016.  The latter joined the GE offering in 2017 though they’d been in the industry since 1997.

The Concept Laser line features powerful metal 3D printers fitted with lasers capable of melting fine metal powder to facilitate the production of complex geometries with remarkable precision. The series comprises the following production units:

  • M Line: Takes on high-value material and efficiently prints parts with elaborate structures
  • M2 Series 5: Designed for users looking for consistency in quality, e.g. industries with stringent qualification requirements like the medical fraternity
  • Mlab Family: Efficient, cost-saving, and quick printer empowered to process high-quality prints at scale
  • X Line 2000R: The world’s largest powder-bed metal additive system with the ability to manufacture extra-large parts.

X Line 2000R is powered by LPBF (Laser Powder Bed Fusion) technology. The manufacturer, however, likes calling it the LaserCusing technology. The engineering empowers the printer to process parts from precious metals, steel alloys, nickel, aluminum, and Titanium. A closed recycling loop helps to keep reactive powders in check.

The metal 3D printer is designed to minimize material wastage. It features reprocessing sections that recycle excess powder, which is then fed back into the production unit. Meanwhile, lesser production times come with the machine’s powerful 1000-watt lasers.

The Arcam EBM series is a family of five metal 3D printers. They use high-power electron beams that deliver higher melting capacities, enabling the machines to manufacture dimensionally accurate parts. Components are also free of stress since the process takes place in a vacuum. Here’s an overview of the five printers:

EBM A2X:  An economical metal 3D printer that allows for powder recycling and offers lower operational costs. Its recommended for academia and research fields.

Spectra L: Features the largest build volume in the EBM list. It’s ideal for mass production of large, high-integrity components.

Spectra H: Offers high heat handling capabilities empowering it to take on different metal alloys and crack-prone proprietary materials.

EBM Q10 Plus: Offers a small footprint and high resolution for the cost-effective manufacture of orthopedic implants.

EBM Q20 Plus: Uses what the manufacturer calls Arcam EBM xQam technology to deliver high-precision auto-calibration in the aerospace industry.

Optomec LENS CS 250

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The US-based Optomec is home to countless metal 3D printing systems. The leader in the Additive Manufacturing space is said to have installed the largest number of DED (Direct Energy Deposition) systems in the world.

The LENS (Laser Engineered Net Shaping) series features Optomec’s proprietary DED technology. The innovation empowers LENS models to manufacture complex parts. Often, the printing process will have a powdered metal feedstock blown through a nozzle, and then a laser array helps to create a molten pool from the material.

The LENS technology can be helpful when there’s a need to add materials to pre-existing components. As a result, these machines are ideal for component repair, maintenance, and overhaul (MRO) operations. They can also satisfy a wide range of metal 3D printing needs.

The CS 250 is the smallest metal 3D printer in the LENS catalog. Its atmosphere-controlled build envelope of 250 × 250 × 250 mm houses a multi-axis system with multiple CNC capabilities. It also hosts a 500 to 2000W fiber laser and a reliable front powder loading system that accepts different alloys like those of aluminum, steel, and Titanium. The printer can also take on ceramics and composite printing jobs.

Additional value comes with no-tooling and low heat-input features. The manufacturer recommends the printer for users looking to research metal additive manufacturing, universities, and metal powder manufacturers. To cater to your growth needs, Optimec has the LENS 860. It features a large build volume and higher power capabilities allowing for the production of mid and large-sized parts.

Desktop Metal (ExOne) InnoventX

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The InnoventX is an innovative 3D printer from ExOne, a German-based company acquired by Desktop Metal in 2021. Soon after the takeover, Desktop rebranded EXOne printers, a move that earned them the name X Series. Desktop Metal is an American Additive manufacturing company.

Like other printers in this section, the InnoventX is scalable. Its print-head engine will handle your printing needs from prototyping all the way to serial production. Further, it features binder jetting technology that can support one-off printing instructions as well as requests for small batches of parts.

The printer’s ultrasonic dispensing technology empowers it to produce uniform layers of binding powder. It’s known to produce high-density prints with excellent surface quality and tight tolerances. While the InnoventX can be great for production, its best suited for research, verification, and experimentation

The InnoventX cost-effectiveness is wrapped up with sustainability attributes. The printer’s build dimensions of 160 x 65 x 65 mm require just 10 pounds of metal AM powders to start running. Also, its design allows for recycling up to 80% of the total metal powder input. The system is compatible with a variety of materials, including:

  • Stainless steels
  • Tool steels
  • Nickel alloys
  • Aluminum alloys
  • Titanium alloys
  • Metal composites
  • Ceramics, like B4C (aluminum-infiltrated boron carbide) and silicon carbide

SLM Solutions SLM 125

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Headquartered in Lübeck, German, SLM solutions is a publicly traded company known for its pioneering role in the selective laser melting process. In fact, the company is said to have launched the world’s first multi-laser metal 3D printer. The SLM 125 is the smallest machine in the SLM solutions catalog.

It features a build envelope of 125 × 125 × 75 mm, which houses a 400watt fiber laser. According to SLM Solutions, the SLM 125 power limit is way higher than same-sized printers. The attribute accounts for efficient powder use and reduces overall consumption by about 80%. Meanwhile, an adjustable gas flow means low gas consumption.

The build envelope size makes this printer great for the construction of prototypes, SMALL 3d prints, as well as one-off parts. However, the manufacturer recommends it for R&D.

The machine features a patented bi-directional coating functionality enabling it to deliver higher build rates than other 3D printers in its category. An open operation concept supports individual part development as well as customization.

The printer supports both active and non-reactive powders. Its laser power monitoring ensures optimal laser output while a layering control system delivers consistent layers lending the machine impressive accuracy levels. Consequently, part irregularity is drastically reduced, making it an economical option.

The SLM 125 hosts a few powder-transporting components. Therefore, changing materials is easy and quick. A wide range of expansion possibilities helps to accommodate different metal 3D printing needs. The system can print with the following metal powders:

  • Stainless steel
  • Tool steel
  • Cobalt-chrome
  • Nickel alloy
  • Aluminum
  • Titan

Renishaw RenAM 500Q

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The Renishaw RenAM 500Q build envelope of 245 X 245 X 335 mm houses four lasers. The lasers’ positioning ensures they efficiently serve the entire print-bed area giving you a better 3D printing experience. Each laser delivers 500 watts and with a collective ability to deliver up to 150 cm3 per hour. It often depends on material variables like geometrical attributes.

Since the printer hosts multiple lasers, it achieves full-layer sinters faster than single-layer systems. Increased output significantly reduces the overall production overheads. Easy maintenance, operator safety, and lesser production times are worth mentioning.

The machine comprises automated sieving and powder recirculation functionalities. A gas flow system handles argon consumption and emissions. Overall, Renishaw RenAM 500Q boats of superb materials and environment management.

Digital Metal DM P2500

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DM P2500 isn’t your ordinary metal 3D printer. It’s a robust innovation from Digital Metal, a voice to reckon with in the world of metal jet binder printers for industrial production.

By the way, Digital Metal’s innovative ideas have received recognition in the 3D printing space. The company was the 2019 3D printing industry winner of the innovation of the year award. Also, Digital Metal affiliation to Höganäs gives them an edge in the world of metal 3D printing.

Höganäs is the world’s largest powdered metal manufacturing company. So, Digital Metal can leverage the parent company’s worldwide presence to offer a better supply chain experience. Also, they’re bound to be ahead in the metal part R&D space.

Besides, Digital Metal’s recent partnership with US-based Elnik Systems gives them a leg up in metal additive manufacturing. Elnik Systems is a global leader in manufacturing advanced metal injection molding (MIM) machines.

Digital Metal DMP2500 has several printers in the market already. However, the DMP2500 was introduced in 2017. Its believed to be the world’s first high-precision printer featuring binder jetting technology.

An upgrade of the previous P1000 and DM P2000, DMP2500 has a slightly larger build space (203 X 180 X 169 mm) and is also niche-specific. Regardless of the size, DMP2500 can simultaneously churn out large numbers of components. If you’re looking to obtain quantities of small fine detailed 3D metal prints quickly, this can be an ideal option.

Unlike other AM systems, the DMP2500 offers impressive surface quality. It can achieve up to six microns sans post-processing. Since heat transfer isn’t involved and support structures are also exempted, you’ve the freedom to pack the build box densely.

Material wastage and longevity are assured. A DMP2500 installed on the company premises has been running 24/7 since 2013. The system can recycle almost 100% of leftover metal powder. It’s compatible with all ISO 22068 metal materials, including:

  • DM 247
  • DM 625
  • Ti6Al4V
  • Tool Steel DM D2
  • 316L (1.4404) Stainless steel
  • 17-4PH (1.4542) Stainless steel
  • DM 718 alloy steel
  • DM 4140 low-alloy steel
  • DM Cu (Pure Copper)

HP Metal Jet

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The HP Metal Jet is among the recently developed Metal 3D printers. It was released in 2018 and quickly gained popularity as one of the world’s most advanced metal 3D printers for mass production.

The quick ascension to fame can be traced back to HP’s extensive experience in the printing industry. Their deep technological knowledge has enabled them to manufacture leading 2D printers.

The breakthrough was followed by a successful exploration of the 3D printing space leading them to develop their proprietary MJF 3D Printing technology, an offshoot of bidder jetting. The technology is believed to be faster than other AM methods

The Metal Jet features the MJF technology, partly explaining its high production capabilities. According to the manufacturer, the printer is about 50 times more productive than other same-level metal 3D printers.

The unit’s overall design is founded on multiple ideas gathered from HP’s long-standing interactions with plastic 3D printers. Remember, plastic 3D printers are economical, so Metal Jet’s printing cost is lower than similar production units.

Consistent quality is assured regardless of the printer’s supersonic printing speed. In fact, the design allows for the production of geometrically complex prints with a printing accuracy of voxel-level 1200 x 1200 dpi 3D.

In order to print, a thermal inkjet squirts droplets of HP binding agent on the bed already overlaid with a thin layer of metal powder. The layering approach is responsible for the printer’s reputation for delivering solid parts. Also, developed components comprise high volumes of metal (up to 99%), reducing material waste. To further cut printing costs, the printer allows the recycling of excess metal powders.

The design also cuts back the need for de-binding. Printing is quickly followed by de-caking then components are sintered in a furnace. The full cabinet-sized build envelope of 430x320x200mm requires about five hours to manufacture products, be it just one product or a group of metal parts.

The Metal Jet is widely used in the automotive industry. In fact, the field was among the first beneficiaries, with Volkswagen and Wilo using the printer to obtain functional metal parts. HP Metal Jet is compatible with stainless steel. However, plans are underway to include Titanium and other powders.

BLT S210

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Popularly known as BLT, the Chinese firm’s name in full is Xi’an Bright Laser Technologies. Its line of metal 3D printers comprises 12 models powered by Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) technology. The company also offers high-end metal printing and various expert engineering services.

BLT machines are widely used in the aerospace, R&D, automotive and medical fields. The S210 is highly recommended for R&D, scientific and medical applications. The smallest in the BLT series, the S210 features a build volume of 105 x 105 x 200 mm and a powerful 500-W laser.

The system also has a precise optical system that can reach scanning speeds of 7 m/s. Meanwhile, it can churn out parts at rates as high as 15 cm³/h. So, it’s both a fast and space-saving metal 3D printer.

A precise F-theta lens accompanies the printer’s laser. Given that the BLT S210 can achieve part thickness of 20 microns, it can print the finest details with exceptional accuracy. The printer features a compact design that offers a flexible open parameter system making it a low-maintenance and user-friendly machine.

The machine runs on three BLT proprietary software, i.e., Magics, BLT-BP, and BLT-MCS. As a result, the printer exhibits handy features like well-thought monitoring functions like quality inspection, automatic stitching and grafting functionalities, manual control, autonomous printing, and detailed operation log features.

Other thoughtful features include variable speed recoating, oxygen content control, self-diagnosis, and multiple interlocking abilities for the highest level of safe production. As for metal powders, the S210 is compatible with:

  • Aluminum
  • Cobalt-Chromium Alloy
  • Titanium Alloy
  • Tantalum Alloy
  • High-strength Steel
  • High-temperature Alloy
  • Magnesium Alloy
  • Stainless Steel Tool Steel
  • Tungsten Alloy
  • Copper Alloy

Velo3D Sapphire

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Velo3D, the Canadian-based 3D printing company, is the home of several LPBF additive manufacturing systems. The firm also developed Flow print preparation software, giving it an edge in 3D printing.

The Velo3D Sapphire printer is an update of a 2018 Sapphire release which had a small build space (315mm diameter by 400mm height). In other words, the new Sapphire model builds on the previous 2018 printer but with a few changes in its design.  The firm fondly calls it the new generation printer.

One notable change was adopting a bigger build volume. The manufacturer increased the printer’s size from 315mm diameter by 400mm height to 315mm diameter by 1-meter height. The vertical axis increase of 600mm was pretty significant since users could develop meter-long components.

The production unit marked a new era in the world of metal additive manufacturing—it was possible to take on applications that couldn’t be handled before, mainly in the oil and aerospace industries. The printer is also believed to be the tallest closed chamber machine with a laser-powder system. To put it differently, the new gen is a volume production system.

The machine’s print space hosts dual 1-Kilowatt lasers complimented by support-free geometries. It means the Velo3D Sapphire can deliver prints with zero degrees overhangs on horizontal as well as flat surfaces.

Aside from its Support-free printing abilities, in-situ optical calibrations are in place to ensure the machine delivers its promise. As for materials, Sapphire is compatible with Inconel IN718, aluminum F357, Hastelloy C22 (a nickel-chromium-iron-molybdenum alloy), Ti 6Al-4V Grade 5, nickel-based Amperprint 0233 Haynes 282 super-alloy powder, and Hastelloy X.

Farsoon FS121M

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Released during the 2021 TCT Asia Trade show, the Farsoon FS121M is among the new entrants in the metal 3D printing market. The manufacturer, Farsoon, is one of China’s most prominent metal AM solutions. They are not limited to metal 3D printers. The firm also has a metal powder production line under its name.

Farsoon offers a wide range of printers, with the FS121M being the smallest on the list. The reasonably priced 3D printer features a small build envelope of 120 x 120 x 100 mm. The machine’s small footprint makes for a space-saving yet highly effective metal 3D printer.

Use cases are slightly inclined towards industries that require quick production of high-quality metal components, like the aerospace and automotive fields. The reason is that the design of the printer includes a 200W Yb-fiber laser plus a digital scanning system. The two support the development of accurate, structurally stable and strong metal parts. The production speed is also impressive.

An open system lends the printer higher levels of flexibility. For one, the manufacturer offers multiple laser spot sizes to choose from. In addition, the printer features different recoating blades as well as a range of powder choices.

Although Farsoon is a developer of metal powders, the FS121M isn’t confined to the firm’s proprietary materials. It can print with different powders including, 17-4PH, Maraging steel, HX, Cu, CoCrMoW, IN718, CuSn10, AlSi10Mg, 316L, Aluminum, Ti64, Ti6Al4V, Tantalum, and Titanium.

Inclusive also is a unidirectional powder feed system, a heat-resistant silicon rubber blade, and a gas advection dust recovery system. Meanwhile, an inert gas supply and protective filter systems deliver adequate safety levels for the product and users.

Best Office Metal 3D Printers

A few factors will go into helping you select an ideal metal 3D printer for office use. First off, the machine should be easy to move around (it can easily slide through the doors).

That has everything to do with weight and size, which determine the printer’s portability attributes. Also, excellent office printers can run without inert gasses or compressed air. We found a couple with the mentioned attributes and a few more attractive features.

Rapidia Metal Designlab

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Dubbed the world’s fastest metal 3D printer, the Rapidia Metal Designlab was first revealed in 2019. The time-saving printer employs a paste called HydroFuse to help circumnavigate the traditional 3-step procedure associated with most metal 3D printers.

HydroFuse replaces up to 98% of the binder with water, most of which evaporates during the printing process to cut back on production time. The design also allows you to skip the de-binding process so that prints move from the printer right into the sinter.

Hydro-Fuse is also an environment-friendly paste. It contains ceramic and metal powders instead of polymeric binders that often shrink and produce odors when burnt. In other words, the printer’s design compensates for the shrinkage of parts and unfriendly odors in the office.

Aside from saving money that you’d have otherwise used to purchase a separate de-binding unit, this economical unit features an X1F furnace. This type of furnace eliminates the need for gas during the sintering step. Remember, gas is the second biggest expense after metal.

Instead, you use ultra-high purity Argon in just small amounts instead of hydrogen or forming gas. Argon is way cheaper than other types of sintering gas. Coupled with a relatively low buying price of $ 100,000, the Metal Designlab is pocket friendly.

The machine can print with different materials, including general-purpose ceramic, 17-4PH stainless steel, and 16L stainless steel. The company intends to have copper, Titanium, zirconia, alumina, tungsten chrome carbide, maraging steel, Inconel 625, copper, and H13 tool steel accommodated in the near future.

Markforged Metal X (Gen 2)

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The Markforged Metal X is an easy-to-use and pretty fast printer. You can have your designs ready in as few as 28 hours. The production system comprises a compact footprint and utilizes the ADAM (Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing) 3D printing technology.

The ADAM technology was developed by Markforged and is often used to manufacture lightweight metal prints. The process requires bound metal rods that are processed into layers, washed in a de-binder then sintered in a furnace.

In our list of the best office metal 3D printers, the Markforged Metal X has the smallest printing system. The total unit price is $160 000) and includes two processing components ($60 500) plus the printer itself ($99 500).

The printer’s metal feedstock acts as a support for materials. Clean breakaway post sinter is assured since a ceramic interface layer is included between supports and parts. Markforged Metal X is compatible with copper, H13 tool steel, 17-4 PH stainless steel, Inconel 625, A2, and D2 tool steel.

Desktop Metal Studio System 2

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The average cost of a 3D metal industrial printer ranges from $420 000  to $1 M. However, Metal Studio System is quite affordable—with about $110 000, you’ll get the entire system, including the furnace unit. Perfect for the office, its two units easily fit alongside each other.

However, they’re large, with the furnace alone weighing about 798kg. Meanwhile, the binder and the printer are 150kg and 97kg, respectively. Considering your space and office arrangement is essential since moving the unit around might not be viable.

The printer uses the BDM (Bound Deposition Method) 3D printing technology which is similar to the popular FFM (Fused Filament Fabrication) technology. In other words, the metal 3D printer extrudes rod-like metal filaments just like the Markforged Metal X.

There’s a difference, however, since Studio System skips the de-binding step, particularly when printing with 316L stainless steel, 17-4PH stainless steel, D2 tool steel or 4140 low-alloy steel. In that case, components are moved to the furnace, which removes the binders. Further heating helps to sinter the parts.

Here are other compatible proprietary materials (remember, these require a separate de-binding unit)

  • Titanium Ti64
  • H13 tool steel
  • 4140 steel

Lastly, removing parts from Studio System 2 is easy. The printer automatically creates seams throughout the support structures during the printing process. It also prints a ceramic interphase between components and the support structure, allowing you to use your hands to remove your prints.

Best Metal 3D Metal Printers: Honorable Mentions

The rapid adoption of metal 3D printing technologies has left consumers with an endless list of machines to choose from. Identifying an ideal production system can be an uphill task. Our list of honorable mentions will help you narrow down to reliable printers for a more manageable shopping experience.

X Jet Carmel 700M

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X Jet Carmel 700M at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: X Jet
  • Country of origin:  Israel
  • Technology: Material Jetting
  • Build size: 501 × 140 × 200 mm
  • Price: $599,000

The Carmel 700M utilizes a patented AM method the manufacturer calls the NanoParticle Jetting technique. It involves mixing nanoparticles of metal or ceramic material with XJet liquid.

An inkjet squirts the mixture into an already pre-heated printer allowing the liquid to evaporate, leaving fine particles of the material used. The printer’s tiny nozzles deposit the liquid material on easy-to-remove supports, making it possible to achieve complex geometries.

The NanoParticle Jetting technology is said to be five times faster than other metal 3D printing techniques. So, quick turn-around time is assured. Carmel 700M is suitable for prototyping, short-run manufacturing, and on-demand manufacturing.

Pam Series MC

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Pam Series MC at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: Pollen AM
  • Country of origin:  France
  • Technology: Extrusion (Pellet Additive Manufacturing)
  • Build size: ⌀ 300 x 300 mm
  • Price: $140,000

The Pam Series is a moderately priced 3D metal printer with a cylindrical build envelope (known as delta-style along the corridors of 3D printing). It uses a technology the manufacturer calls “Pellet Additive Manufacturing”.

The technology enables the machine to extrude injection molding pellets instead of metal printing filament. Since the machine prints in an alternative material, the cost of production is pretty low. The unit can be used to develop metals, ceramics, and thermoplastics.


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AMCELL at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: Triditive
  • Country of origin:  Spain
  • Technology: Extrusion (Triditive’s Automated Multi-material Deposition)
  • Build size: ⌀ 300 x 350 mm
  • Price: Upon request

AMCELL is believed to be the only 3D printer that uses polymers and metal powder interchangeably. The production unit delivers convenience through its fully automated design, like auto environment controls (temperatures, air filtering, and humidity), feedstock control and an ejection system with a conveyor belt.

The printer was developed with a focus on the mass production of large parts. It can print materials including Titanium and PVC. Often, prints from AMCELL look like those produced with metal injection molding (MIM) techniques.

M2 Series 5

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M2 Series 5 at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: GE Additive
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Technology: Powder Bed Fusion (SLM/DMLS)
  • Build size: 250 x 250 x 300 mm
  • Price: Upon request

According to the manufacturer (GE Additive), the M2 Series 5 offers a higher production capacity than similar metal 3D printers. The attribute can be traced to the machine architecture, including a larger build space, an upgraded gas flow system that allows for easier and lesser filter chan, plus better 3D optics.

A closed loop system means a powder-free, super-safe environment for a user. The printer can accommodate Cobalt-Chrome, Nickel, Titanium, Aluminum and different forms of Stainless steel.

Arcam EBM Spectra L

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Arcam EBM Spectra L at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: GE Additive
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Technology: Powder Bed Fusion
  • Build size: 350 × 350 × 430 mm
  • Price: Upon request

The EBM Spectra L is among the fast metal 3D printers in the Arcam line. Arcam, the Swedish manufacturer of Electronic Beam Melting (EBM) production systems, joined GE Additive in 2017. So, EBM Spectra is, by default, a GE innovation.

Aside from an increased production speed, the machine is believed to cut down material usage by up to 10%. It’s powerful 4.5 kW laser offers high melting capacities and increased productivity. The printer can print with Titanium and copper and is widely used in the medical and aerospace industries.


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SPEED3D WarpSPEED3D at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: SPEED3D
  • Country of origin:  Australia
  • Technology: Material Jetting
  • Build size: 1000 X 700 mm
  • Price: Upon request

The WarpSPEED3D is a 2019 release by the Australian-based SPEED3. The manufacturer refers to it as the world’s fastest metal 3D printer since it requires just 24 minutes to develop a component as heavy as 660 grams. That is more than 100x faster than traditional 3D metal printing techniques.

The printer uses cold spray technology to develop quality metal parts for industrial applications. Designed to lower overall printing overheads, the machine prints using kinetic energy concepts instead of high-power lasers or expensive glasses. WarpSPEED3 can print with Copper or Aluminum and is recommended for the R&D, parts on demand, OEM insourcing and contract manufacturing fields.

XM 200C

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XM 200C at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: Xact Metal
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Technology: Laser Powder Bed Fusion
  • Build size: 127 x 127 x 127 mm
  • Price: $110,000

Xact metal is among the new entrants in the additive manufacturing printing space. It was founded in 2017 and has since developed three metal 3D printers—the XX300G, XM200C and XM300C. Retailing at USD 110 000, XM 200C is the most affordable. It weighs just 136 kg making it one of the lightest production systems on the market.

The manufacturer’s proprietary Xact Core gantry system powers the machine lending it precise movements and fusing speeds of up to 500 mm/s. It’s a perfect option for businesses with small production needs, prototyping, and tooling. The printer can also satisfy R&D metal printing needs. As for materials, proprietary metal powders from the manufacturer are available. However, experts can print using other powders besides those offered by Xact Metal.

FormAlloy L Series

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FormAlloy L Series at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: FormAlloy
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Technology: Directed Energy Deposition (DED)
  • Build size: 1000 x 1000 x 1000 mm
  • Price: Upon request

The award winning US-Based FormAlloy offers a range of laser metal deposition (LMD) components, machines and services. Already patented by FormAlloy, LMD technology involves using a nozzle to blow layers of powder onto a substrate. A laser is then used to melt the material, making it possible to modify or repair 3D and non-3D prints.

The L Series boasts a closed-loop control, and in-process monitoring partly explains the printer’s powder efficiency ability. The flexible machine also has FormAlloy’s deposition head to enhance material-use efficiency further and support quick component swaps. Inclusive also are 5-axes of motion, allowing for the production of more complex designs.

Production System P-1

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Production System P-1 at a Glance

  • Manufacturer: Desktop Metal
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Technology: Binder jetting
  • Build size: 200 x 100 x 40 mm
  • Price: Upon request

The Single Pass Technology powers the Production System P-1. The Desktop Metal proprietary AM method involves mounting numerous nozzles to a print bar that also helps to recoat the build plate. The result is increased printing speed. In fact, the Single Pass Technology is said to be 4X faster than other metal 3D printing techniques.

The Production System P-1 has about 16 000 nozzles. The manufacturer markets it as a high-speed production unit. Further, the printer is said to have the advantage of lower cost per part, making it a more cost-effective option than other same-level systems.

In order to satisfy scalability needs, it’s possible to transfer components from System P-1 to System P-50. Scaling mass component production has never been so easy.

Alternative Best Metal 3D Printers

Is the hunt still on? It must be, that’s the reason why you have come with us this far. This section showcases other metal 3D printers. However, we have different categories, so you can jump right to your preferred list.

Research & Development Metal 3D Printers

Per our above reviews, some 3D metal printers have multiple use cases (R&D inclusive), which means a higher price tag. However, the market offers dedicated units for lab use. They’re designed to help develop and test metal materials specifically.

XXL-Sized Industrial Production Units

Industrial production systems feature generous build envelopes to allow for the development of large-sized metal parts. For that reason, they’re often gigantic. Following are some reliable options:

Hybrid Metal 3D Printers

Hybrid 3D metal printers feature both Additive and subtractive manufacturing technologies. Additive manufacturing systems develop components by adding one layer of the material on top of the other. Subtractive approaches involve the removal of material to create parts.

Combining the two techniques helps to achieve smooth solid surfaced products. Companies like Phillips can install additive capabilities in an existing printer enabling you to enjoy both worlds of 3D printing.

In other words, they save you money since you don’t need to buy a new printer. Some top manufacturers of hybrid systems include:

  • Gefertec, the award-winning German manufacturer of hybrid printers
  • DMG Mori  from Germany and the developer of LASERTEC 65 3D hybrid metal 3D printer
  • Mazak Corporation, the Kentucky-based manufacturer of INTEGREX i-400, one of the world’s largest hybrid systems
  • Matsuura, the Japanese developer of Lumex Avance-25
  • Sodick, headquartered in the United States and manufacturer of OPM250L and OPM350L hybrid metal 3D printers

Is Metal 3D Printing Worth it?

Like other technologies and products, metal 3D printing has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at either side of the coin.

Pros of metal 3D Printing

Facilitates the production of intricate designs: Metal 3D printing provides an avenue for obtaining complex components that’d be impossible to create using traditional strategies. Alternatively, it would mean breaking the manufacturing process into smaller steps to achieve the desired geometry.

Yields lightweight components: Traditional methods are known to yield solid parts. However, they’re often heavy. The technologies used to 3D print metal parts result in somewhat hollow components. Nonetheless, they’re often solid and lightweight.

Convenient: Metal 3D printing delivers a convenience that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s the best way to satisfy on-demand production needs.

Safe and environment healthy: Modern metal 3D printers allow for material recycling. This is particularly true for extrusion-based systems as opposed to powder-based systems since they can accommodate excess material and use it to produce parts. The printing process occurs inside a closed unit keeping the environment clean and safe.

Economical: The economical aspect of 3D printing is bundled up with quick production time, convenience, efficiency and the ability to recycle printing materials.

Constraints of Metal 3D Printing

Pricey: Metal 3D printers are expensive and so are the printing materials. They also consume considerable amounts of energy. Some units require expert knowledge to operate which means digging deeper into your pockets.

Problems with part structure:  It’s not uncommon for 3D printed parts to delaminate and lose their original structure when subjected to extreme stresses. This is a common problem with components created using FDM-based metal 3D printers.

Design inaccuracies: Sometimes, the final product can be different from the original design. This often happens when the machine is low on tolerance. Although post-processing can help to fix design inaccuracies, it consumes resources like time and energy.

How to Choose a Metal 3D Printer

As the metal 3D printing industry experiences an exponential growth, we’ll see many releases in days to come. The best way to approach a saturated market is by narrowing down your options. Here are guidelines to help you achieve the objective:

  • How fast would you like the production unit to work on your requests?
  • Know beforehand the materials you want to print with
  • Keep in mind the mechanical properties you’d like to see in your prints
  • Consider the ease of use since some production units might require you to hire an expert
  • Check out if the supplier offers consultations services
  • Consider the manufacturer’s customer support avenues. Is the service responsive to distress calls?
  • Are you looking to print for a regulated industry?

Types of Metal 3D Printing Technologies

Just like printer models and manufacturers of 3D metal printers, there are many 3D printing technologies. AM services often market their own proprietary method, with some opting to have a mix of two or more technologies.

Some new innovations, like Meltio’s laser metal deposition and the recently developed cold fusion from SPEED3D, are attracting massive attention. However, the most common additive manufacturing methods are:

  • Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF)
  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  • Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (EBM)
  • Metal Binder Jetting
  • Cold Spray
  • Direct Energy Deposition (DED)

Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF)

The Laser Powder Bed Fusion is the most preferred 3D printing technique. In fact, it takes up about 80% of the total 3D printing market share. As the name suggests, a laser or more melts one layer of metal powder after the other. The process compels tiny metal particles to fuse, creating ready prints.

The only post-processing process is the removal of support structures unless the mechanical requirements demand smoother surfaces. At that point, some post-process will be necessary to achieve desired attributes.

LPBF technique produces layers that can be as thin as 0.04 mm. As a result, the technique can be used to build complex parts with high resolution. Aside from aluminum, prints can be developed using copper-based alloys, cobalt, nickel, iron, and their composites.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Also known as fused filament fabrication, FDM is an extrusion-based printing approach often associated with plastic 3D printing. In the realm of metal 3D prints, the technique can use full-metal filaments or plastic ones infused with metal powder.

The plastic component acts as the binder requiring sintering and de-binding to achieve perfect parts. Although prints can be 98% metal, they’re often porous. Also, metal filaments can be abrasive to extrusion nozzles. As a result, FDM machines often require hardened steel or reinforced extruders.

Also, post-processing means additional costs and a slower production turn-around time. Besides, the process often reduces the overall volume of developed components, affecting the end product’s geometry. With reliable software, however, it is possible to account for the loss and make necessary pre-printing preparations.

On the upside, the technique is pretty cost-effective since it opens up the possibility to 3D print metal components using plastic 3D printing FDM systems. The market offers well-to-do professional plastic 3D printers for USD 10K and below. Perfect examples include the Raise3D Pro 2, MakerBot Method, MakerBot Method X, and Ultimaker S5.

Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (EBM)

EBM belongs to the Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) family. Other same-category techniques are Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Selective Heat Sintering (SHS), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

The PBF family has one thing in common: the methods use either a laser or electron beam to melt layers of material and fuse the particles together.

EBM works more or less like LPBF. However, the difference is that an electron beam, not a laser, handles the melting and fusing processes. The method is ideal for industries interested in quickly producing large 3D metal prints. However, the EBM isn’t as accurate as Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

On the upside, EBM leverages the power of high temperatures and a vacuum environment to create stress-relieved parts with attributes like those you’d find in wrought iron.

Metal Binder Jetting

The metal binder jetting technique is the fastest in the PBF family. As the name suggests, a binder jetting printer distributes layers on the printing material on the print bed. Meanwhile, a jetting head deposits the binder to create the desired geometry.

Aside from its lightning-speed printing abilities, metal binder jetting is inexpensive and offers higher material flexibility. The perks partly explain why it’s becoming more popular than SLM.

However, speed is limited to the printing stage. More time is required for post-processing, including de-binding, sintering, de-powdering, infiltration, and annealing. Overall, the technique requires more time than other AM methods.

Cold Spray

Cold spray was initially developed to help with coating tasks up until 2000, when it was adapted by AM services and used to 3D print metal parts. Unlike other metal 3D printing methods, cold spray is devoid of thermal power. Instead, metal powders are sprayed at high-speed to fuse the particles together.

The process features negligible levels of thermal stress minimizing the chances of creating deformed parts. Cold spray easily achieves precise geometries and can manufacture thick parts faster than other printing techniques.

The technique is helpful in on-location repair and restoration of metal parts and quick manufacturing of replacement parts. The mentioned use cases have made it a cost-saving 3D printing method since cold spray can thwart interruptions. Also, repairing is way cheaper than replacing a whole part. As a result, cold pray has become the most preferred metal 3D printing option in the oil, gas, and military fields.

Direct Energy Deposition (DED)

Direct Energy Deposition technology is pretty broad. It’s also known as Direct Metal Deposition (DMD), Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS), Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM), Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS), or 3D Laser Cladding, depending on the application method.

Depending on the heat source, DED is further classified into five groups below.

  • Wire-based DED: While wires are the primary materials, the source of heat can be a laser, electron beam or plasma
  • Powder-based DED: Laser or electronic beams are used to heat metal powder in order to create parts
  • Electron beam-based DED: The feedstock here is metal powder, while an electron beam provides energy
  • Laser-based DED: Laser is the only energy source
  • Plasma or Electric arc-based DED: An electric arc provides the energy required to create a molten pool from wires

Regardless of the DED method used, the production process is similar to welding. A nozzle deposits the metal powder or wire while, at the same time, a focused energy source melts it. In other words, the two processes happen simultaneously.

In general, wire is economical as far as material use is concerned. Metal powder offers greater accuracy in deposition. DED printers can achieve layer thickness of 0.25mm to 0.5mm, and cooling can be super-fast—1000 to 5000 °C per second. Direct Energy Deposition can be used to repair parts, add material to existing ones, or print metal 3D prints from scratch.

Best Metal 3D Printing Services

Sometimes, outsourcing printing services can make more business sense than investing in a production unit. The reasons can vary from space limitations, a busy schedule, budget, and human resource constraints, or minimal printing needs.

Whichever the reason, you can order parts online to satisfy your printing needs. In most instances, you’ve to upload your request for review, after which the AM service sends you a quote. The general procedure includes the following steps:

  • Create an account with the 3D metal service and sign in
  • Upload your model to the manufacturer’s site
  • Specify the number of parts you want to be printed, the material, and finishing details
  • Receive the quote
  • Place your order if content with the price

Our below list of additive services has invested in high-end metal printers in order to reach a broader client base. They also have on-site 3D printing experts to deliver per your expectations. If you’re new to metal 3D printing, they offer guidance to help you get your bearings.

Metal 3D Printing Materials

The AM market offers different types of 3D printing materials. Each complements a specific printing method. Resin and metal sheets are quite uncommon. They’re mainly used in lamination-based production systems. Following are the popular 3D printing materials:

  • Wire
  • Metal powder
  • Filament

Best Applications for Metal AM Production Systems

Metal 3D printing is no longer reserved for rapid prototyping and concept modeling. The industry has expanded to include small batches in the consumer category to large-scale production. In short, the possibilities are limitless.

AM systems are widely used for tooling, repair, and replacement of parts and for creating new components from scratch. Whatever the reason for wanting to venture into the AM industry, it’s best to use traditional methods for simple tasks to save on costs. It means reserving AM systems for complex jobs like rapid prototyping and mass customization needs or for developing complex geometries


How expensive is a metal 3D printer?

The cost can be anything from USD 30 000 to over USD 1M for premium grade industrial metal 3D printers. Aside from the production unit, printing materials and post-processing costs like tools can significantly alter the overall price. Nonetheless, you can opt for plastic 3D printers, which are pocket-friendlier. Keep in mind that their application is limited.

Are 3D metal printed parts brittle?

No. In fact, metal 3D prints can be stronger than traditionally developed parts. The additive manufacturing method and the printing environment often determine the strength of the final product.


Investing in a good metal 3D printer can be the best way of handling some business situations. However, sometimes, partnering with third-party services will make more business sense. Accessing your need against the benefits offered by either alternative is the dealbreaker.

The right choice will help you enjoy convenience, and efficiency, besides saving you money. While at it, a little research will go a long way to keeping you from making wrong decisions, whether you obtain a production system or hire metal 3D printing services.

Our comprehensive list of metal printers can be a great starting point. We’ve also included reliable AM services that offer printing services and various other related services. In short, the solution to your metal printing needs is just a click away.

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