Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has created the first ever 3D printed diamond composite. The stones lack sparkle, but are perfect for a wide range of industrial uses, says the company. The advantage is that the diamond can be 3D printed in very complex shapes, unlike mined or manufactured diamonds.
Sandvik says the difference between its diamond and natural or synthetic diamonds is that its process creates a composite. It is mostly diamond, but to make it printable and dense, it needs to be cemented in a very hard matrix material while keeping the most important physical properties of pure diamond. Once printed the composite diamond needs no further machining.
The diamond composite has been tested and found to have high hardness, exceptional heat conductivity, and corrosion resistance.
Another advantage is that material waste is minimized. The diamond powder in Sandvik’s process can be extracted from the polymer in the slurry after printing and then recycled for another print job.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)