Additive Manufacturing for the Tooling Industry

Metal 3D Printing Solutions for Tooling

Selective Laser Melting is increasingly used in the tooling industry. Advantages like the newly gained freedom of design through additive manufacturing is used to produce complete tools or tool inserts. One main area of application is the integration of conformal cooling channels that make it possible to shorten cycle times of part manufacturing, minimize stress loads in the components, and extend the tool life. In addition, tools or inserts can be built with various material properties. These specifications can be integrated for targeted surface hardness or damping properties of the core, for example.

Expert applications support from Nikon SLM Solutions aids in developing components optimized for selective laser melting, from prototype to production.


Die-Casting Mold Insert - Oskar Frech GmbH

Machine: SLM®280
Material: 1.2709
Layer Thickness: 40µm
Build Time: 1d 7h 

Oskar Frech GmbH only trusts additive manufacturing to produce its inserts for the die-casting FGS (Frech Gating System). Tempering channels for heating and cooling directly printed within the inserts allows a reduction of the cooling time of the part process from 12 to just 5 seconds. A reduction of nearly 60 %



Y-Connector - Etteplan

Machine: SLM®280 Twin
Material: AlSi10Mg
Layer Thickness: 60µm
Build Time: 2d 8h 11m (Maximized Build Chamber, 120 Units)

Etteplan was tasked with redesigning the y-connector of a robotic sander's dust extraction channel, optimizing it for additive manufacturing (AM). The design update and parameter optimization lead to significant cost reduction of 40 % savings through DfAM and a nested build orientation. 



Cross-Jet Unit - Fronius

Machine: SLM®280
Material: AlSi10Mg
Layer Thickness: 60µm
Build Time: 20h (Maximized Build Chamber, 10 Units)

The heart of the welding process is the hybrid welding head with both an integrated GMA welding torch and laser optics. Fronius uses a cross-jet unit to protect the laser optics from contamination during the welding process. Using SLM® technology the company combined 18 individual components into one and increased flow performance while reducing weight and costs



Single Piece Extrusion Tool - MonaLab GmbH

Machine: SLM®280
Material: AlSi10Mg
Layer Thickness: 30µm
Build Time: 1d 6h (Maximized Build Chamber, 2 Units)

In the extrusion of technical hoses, the melt at the end of the extruder is pressed through the tool to create a homogeneous mass and shape, making internal features essential for quality of the final product. Thanks to SLM® technology's ability to integrate internal features into a reduced assembly, the production efficiency of this extrusion tool was considerably improved. 


SLM® Materials for Tooling Applications

Nikon SLM Solutions offers a wide range of qualified metal powders for use on our selective laser melting systems. All materials provided by Nikon SLM Solutions are qualified for their chemistry, spherical structure, particle size distribution, dryness and flowability.


  • Fe-Based Alloys: 316L (1.4404), 1.2709, H13 (1.2344)
  • Co-Based Alloys: CuNi2SiCr


More SLM® Materials

Selective Laser Melting Solutions for Tooling

  • Molds

    With metal AM technology, molds for thermoplastic, rubber or die cast as well as hot stamping tools with shaped cooling channels can be manufactured rapidly. SLM® technology reduces the cycle time up to 75% and creates higher product quality of the parts manufactured with the molds; production efficiency is improved. Metal printed fixtures and gauges with customized design enhance production line for higher productivity and safety assembly. 

  • Tire Mold Segments

    Tire mold industry is using the design freedom of metal AM technology to improve the functionality of tires. 3D printed mold blades or complete mold inserts reduce time to market dramatically. 

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