Comparison of Stainless Steel 316L Parts Made by FDM- and SLM-Based Additive Manufacturing Processes
The selective laser melting (SLM) process is of great interest for fabrication of metal parts, and a number of studies have been conducted to provide in-depth understanding of how stainless steel 316L parts can be fabricated using this powder-bed-fusion-based additive manufacturing (AM) process. In comparison with SLM stainless steel 316L, this paper introduces an innovative AM process for making austenitic stainless steel 316L parts using a metal–polymer composite filament (Ultrafuse 316LX). Stainless steel 316L metal specimens were printed using a material extrusion (FDM)-based three-dimensional (3D) printer loaded with Ultrafuse filament, followed by an industry-standard debinding and sintering process. Tests were performed to understand the material properties, such as hardness, tensile strength, and microstructural characteristics. Part shrinkage was also analyzed based on the features of the FDM stainless steel 316L component. A preliminary guideline on how to select among these two alternative AM processes for fabrication of metal parts is discussed.