The metal part on the left demonstrates how a metal part warps in the furnace after 3D printing. The part on the right shows how a part design modified by Live Sinter delivers the desired result. (Photo: Business Wire)

3D printing specialist Desktop Metal released updates to a sintering simulation software that is said to optimize production of metal binder jet parts

August 30, 2022

BOSTON—Desktop Metal, Inc. reported that it released significant updates to Live Sinter™, a multi-physics sinter simulation software application that automates the generation of sinter-ready, printable geometries, as well as supports, setters, and inserts. The software is said to “make repeatable, volume production of high-precision end-use metal parts through binder jetting more accessible,” the company said in a release.

Desktop Metal said Live Sinter is a key enabler of its AM 2.0 binder jetting products, making them easier to adopt and ramp to production for customers without any prior powder metallurgy or sintering expertise. The software can predict and correct for shrinkage and distortion in part designs in as little as 20 minutes, delivering sinter-ready, printable geometries, the company said.

The multi-physics simulation and compensation software is reported to deliver sinter-ready, printable geometries that maintain tight shape and dimensional tolerances. After scan-based adjustments, Live Sinter enables correcting for complex distortion effects, yielding parts that “consistently fall well within 1 percent of target dimension, with as low as +/- 0.3 percent deviation,” according to the release. The parts avoid distortion, warping, and other common sintering challenges, as well as the cost and time associated with supports or setters, the company said.

“Within the field of sinter-based additive manufacturing, Live Sinter stands alone for its ease of use and functionality,” said Ric Fulop, founder and CEO of Desktop Metal, in the release. “No other solution offered today combines our powerful, rapid multi-physics simulation with scan-based adjustments and automated support and setter generation. Customers continue to report their absolute delight with this tool to us, and we look forward to continuing to invest in advancing Live Sinter to make sinter-based manufacturing accessible to an ever wider audience, including metal injection molding customers.”

Live Sinter simulation software predicts and corrects for shrinkage and distortion in metal parts 3D printed with binder jetting technology. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Live Sinter is a critical companion to Desktop Metal’s portfolio of metal binder jetting systems, which produce parts that must be sintered in a furnace to fuse the particles into a high-density material.

“One of my biggest worries investing in this technology was the furnace and the frustration of failing that far into the process during sintering,” said Neil Glazebrook, vice president of 3D Solutions at ABCorp in Boston, in the release. “Using Live Sinter, I’m blown away at our success with the sintering furnace.”

ABCorp invested in a Desktop Metal Shop System and Desktop Metal Furnace in 2021 for the production of 17-4PH stainless steel parts. The company had no prior sintering experience. “I don’t have to use sintering supports anymore, so I don’t have to charge for supports,” Glazebrook added. “I use Live Sinter for everything, and it makes it more competitive.”

Chris Aiello, co-founder of FreeFORM Technologies of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, said his company has found Live Sinter to be “an extremely valuable tool.”

“The ability to print, scan, adjust, reprint, et cetera, has reduced our lead time by helping us yield product in spec faster than a traditional trial and error loop,” Aiello said in the release. “The ability of the software to predictively deform products prior to first manufacturing, or to take first-off parts and make adjustments, has resulted in our customers getting to market faster with product so they can move on to their next development.”

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