High-hardness ferrous metal matrix products are now achievable through a one-step 3D-printing process. NanoSteel®, a leader in nanostructured steel materials design, has successfully expanded its engineered powders business into additive manufacturing. By leveraging its uniform metal matrix microstructures in the laser- sintering process, the company can now build a crack-free, fully dense bulk sample. NanoSteel’s initial focus in additive manufacturing supports the market need for on-demand, on-site wear parts while addressing the current challenges in 3D printing of high-hardness parts.NanoSteel’s breakthrough overcomes one of the major hurdles to achieving high-hardness metallic parts through additive manufacturing—their tendency to develop cracks during part build. The company worked with a global process development partner to optimise processing of a proprietary NanoSteel alloy with a high volume fraction of boro-carbide phases. This successfully produced a fully dense (99.9%) crack-free part with hardness values over 1000 HV, wear resistance comparable to conventionally manufactured M2 tool steels, and a uniform microstructure. Importantly, these properties were achieved without the need for post-processing such as hot isostatic pressing (HIP) or further heat treatment, reducing production cost and lead times.“Currently, the material options to produce highly wear-resistant parts through additive manufacturing are limited” said Harald Lemke, NanoSteel’s General Manager of Engineered Powders. “By extending the reach of steel into markets currently served by WC-Co, ceramics, and other non-ferrous metal matrix metal composites, NanoSteel has the potential to generate cost-efficient wear parts to serve mining,” and other applications.The company is currently extending this breakthrough into more complex geometries and broadening its property sets to fully validate the market potential for 3D-printed steel components.