Metal printing

Anyone have any knowledge or experience re: metal 3d printing? Diy or local (even Dayton) companies?



John, I don’t remember the name of the company. The sign company around the corner from the Hive, said
that they could “print” on metal to make a sign for me. I didn’t do it. Also there are a couple of places on
the internet that do metal printing.
Dave Lear

Are you looking to actually “print” a metal form or print a castable wax to make one using a mold from the print.

Shapeways online can do direct sls aluminum powder parts from models as well as a variety of other metal options using the casted option. Though they are a bit pricy on things.

One of our newer members, Jeff B., works for a company that does metal 3D printing, however, It is for large, high precision applications (read as: $$$$$$$)

I would say the best bet is using a uv resin printer with a lost wax style resin.

Thanks all for your suggestions.

I’m looking to make custom-sized (tooth-count) gears for a derailleur-type shift system.
Lost wax might work.
And maybe the lathe could round it out, but I don’t know how I would clean up the teeth.
Problem is I’m a woodworker, not a metal worker!


From the Western Spiral Arm

What materials? can we see a snapshot of the geometry?

I haven’t got any designs from the guy who asked me yet, but I imagineer it’s basically what is seen in a bike derailleur.

From the Western Spiral Arm

If it’s for a device like that it will likely need to be steel or some other hard metal.

If the construction is a hub with cogs vs. a single piece, it may be able to be milled on a CNC well enough for prototyping. If one piece, it would be much harder.

Assuming a multiple part design, it may be a good job for the Roland CNC once I have that finished.


A flat sprocket like a derailleur would be a fine one off waterjet candidate. Unless the tooth needs a side profile the shape would be finished after cutting.

Good thought!

So, I’ve seen machines proposed on line, any available yet?

From the Western Spiral Arm

Derailer mechanisms don't work very well without the ramps in the sides of the cogs, flat cogs jump and skip a lot before actually shifting over.

As to derailleurs and shaped/tapered cogs. The key term here is working well vs.working with skips and chatter.
Many a mass market rear gear cluster is darn flat. Wouldn’t race with one, but they get you there.

As to waterjets, Hive13 doesn’t have one, You might find someone at UC who could get you some time on their makerspace waterjet. I hear it’s awesome.
If that doesn’t work there are fab shops locally and on line that do waterjet jobs.

Don’t give up on existing stuff.

Could you use a bike derailleur?
There are cartridge systems to have different sprockets.
I’m assuming you are making some kind of power transmission system.
I had an R/C truck that had two gear ratios you could shift remotely. Probably not too expensive.

Again, thanks to all for their suggestions.

I will have to get back to my associate to see what he has in mind: derailleur or similar?, flat teeth or chamfered? etc.