BOSTON—Desktop Metal has been awarded  a three-year, multimillion dollar grant from the Department of Defense to develop a high-volume 3D printing process that makes complex parts from a new cobalt-free hard metal without the use of tooling. This new process has the potential to change the landscape of the carbide hardmetals market, which is projected to grow to $24 billion by 2024.

The main goals and requirements of the $2.45 million project include the development of a feedstock and binder system for novel cobalt-free hardmetal; using the Desktop Metal SPJ process to print a sufficient quantity of components of at least 200,000 parts in one day from a single machine; and delivering the cost analysis of scaling up its advanced SPJ binder jet manufacturing.

Applications for the process include cutting tools, parts for the oil and gas sector, parts for the chemical and textile industry, tools used in agriculture and mining, steel industry, consumer goods and sporting goods, parts for off-road transportation, aerospace and defense sector, construction, and in tools and dies for chip-less materials forming.

The project is issued to Desktop Metal by the U.S. Army Contracting Command–Aberdeen, Research Triangle Park, on behalf of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) Advanced Manufacturing, Materials & Processes (AMMP) Consortium.