What Is the Most Widely Used 3D-Printed Material?

ExOne’s CTO recently offered an educated guess. His answer highlights an underappreciated success of AM.


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What is the most widely used material in 3D printing? Is it a polymer such as ABS? A metal such as titanium?

Neither, says Rick Lucas (pictured), CTO of ExOne. He believes the material most widely used in 3D printing is sand. He made that comment as part of a presentation at the most recent Additive Manufacturing Conference. In what is perhaps an underappreciated success of additive manufacturing, sand printing machines with large build volumes (such as those supplied by his company) are being used extensively to directly print foundry molds and cores, bypassing the need for tooling typical of casting such as patterns and core boxes. Alongside direct printing of metal, he says, printing sand for the purposes of casting represents another way that AM is affecting the production of metal parts.