Proto Labs, Inc., based in Maple Plain, Minnesota, USA, states that product designers and engineers can now order Metal Injection Moulded low-alloy steel prototypes and low-volume production parts using its MIM rapid manufacturing service. The company has added two nickel steel materials (Catamold FN02 and FN0205) and a chrome-moly material (Catamold 42CrMo4), the MIM equivalent of 4140 steel. The new metals expand the potential applications for parts produced by Proto Labs’ MIM process.
“We’ve had tremendous customer demand for stainless steel with MIM last year and expect the same response to our new low-alloy metals,” stated Becky Cater, Proto Labs’ Product Manager for MIM. “We offer many different hard and soft metals through our 3D printing and CNC machining services at Proto Labs, but nickel steel is only produced through Metal Injection Moulding. This material boost will inherently let our customers do more things in the realm of low-volume metal manufacturing.”
Low-alloy steel creates strong, wear-resistant metal parts when heat-treated and is able to be to be coated in post-processing for further protection. As for applications, the low-alloy steel materials will be used heavily by the firearms industry for various gun and archery components as well as by automotive engineers for engine and transmission components and the industrial goods sector during development of hand and power tools, and door and window lock hardware, for example.
In addition to rapid prototypes, Proto Labs states that it can produce up to 5,000+ Metal Injection Moulded parts within 15 days.
In addition to offering fast turnaround low volume MIM parts, Proto Labs offers plastic injection moulding, computer numerical control (CNC) machining and Additive Manufacturing to produce parts from a wide range of materials for product designers and engineers worldwide.