Direct Metal Printing Rapidly Delivers Innovative Faucet

A faucet that would be difficult to manufacture conventionally was developed and produced within weeks using Direct Metal Printing (DMP). 


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Kallista, a division of Kohler, has developed a new faucet with a geometric shape. Inspired by the outline of a cube, the Grid faucet features right angles and integrated water channels, a design that could not be easily manufactured using traditional manufacturing methods.

To produce this faucet, designers turned to 3rd Dimension, a manufacturer located in Indianapolis, Indiana, that offers metal 3D printing as well as machining, milling and finishing. 3rd Dimension designed support structures to strengthen the design during printing, and manufactured the Grid faucets using a ProX 320 Direct Metal Printing (DMP) system from 3D Systems. DMP is 3D Systems’ name for its metal powder-bed 3D printing process, and the company says its system offers precision down to about 50 microns. The faucets were printed with the company's LaserForm 316L stainless steel powder .

The parts were removed from the build plate with EDM, then heat-treated to reduce stresses. Machining added threads for the mating connectors and aerator. After a tumble deburring process to create a uniform surface finish, the faucets were powder-coated to achieve a black matte finish.

3D printing these parts not only enabled a difficult-to-manufacture design, but also sped the development of the product. The faucets were printed within hours, and fully finished within a couple of weeks. See the process in the video below: