Engineers trying to keep track of the ever-ballooning number of materials and machines for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP) now have some relief. The free, searchable Senvol Database has data on more than 350 machines and 450 different materials, and has been called the first and only one of its kind for industrial 3DP and AM.
Users can search by more than 30 different fields, such as machine manufacturer; machine build size; AM process; material type; material manufacturer; and mechanical, thermal, and physical properties such as tensile strength or glass trandition temperature. The database comprises two different sections: one for materials and one for machines.
For both sections, no single search field is required. Users can fill out as much or as little information as they prefer. Instructions for the materials portion say, "For example, if you only want to search for Stratasys materials, you can do that. Or, if you only want to search for materials that have a tensile strength of at least 50 mPa, you can do that, too. Or you can even search multiple fields at once (e.g. you can search for titanium materials that have an elongation at break of at least 8%)."
By "industrial," the database's creators mean professional, non-desktop machines and materials, according to the website's FAQ. For example, the machine manufacturers menu currently lists a total of 37, including many we've written about, such as the big three: 3D Systems, EOS, and Stratasys, as well as 3DP Unlimited, Arcam, Concept Laser, ExOne, Optomec, Renishaw, and Sciaky. In order to be listed in either portion, machines and materials must have an available spec sheet. The database is updated continuously, Senvol president Zach Simkin told Design News.
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The Senvol Database was created as an in-house tool, according to the FAQ. Senvol is a services firm that conducts analytics exclusively for the AM industry, and is a member of America Makes and the ASTM International F42 Committee on Additive Manufacturing Technologies. Just like many engineers (and Design News editors), its principals got tired of sorting through hundreds of pages of data sheets to answer a single question. Thanks, Senvol -- I know I'll be using the database for some time to come.
Ann R. Thryft is senior technical editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 25 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, machine vision, and all kinds of communications.