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3D printing with CoCr powder

In the dynamic landscape of 3D printing technology, cobalt-chromium (CoCr) powder is rapidly gaining recognition as a solution for demanding applications. Known for its exceptional wear, corrosion and high-temperature resistance, CoCr powder is increasingly becoming the material of choice for industries seeking high-performance materials for 3D printing. This blog post looks at the unique properties, versatile applications, and promising future of CoCr powder as a wear-resistant material for additive manufacturing (AM).

Additive Manufacturing with CoCr powder

CoCr alloys, including the renowned Stellite® alloy family, are celebrated for their superior wear and corrosion resistance, making them ideal for demanding engineering applications. As a fine powder, they are especially suited for additive manufacturing technologies.

Additive manufacturing of metallic parts based on powder bed technologies, such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM) or Metal Binder Jetting (MBJ) require special specification of the powder used for the processes.

Quality, cost and amount of reworking of 3D-parts varies with powder properties, e.g. regarding grain size (fraction) and flow ability. In each of the AM processes the part is manufactured by building up layer upon layer, either directly melted or using a binder and followed a sintering process. The manufacturing in layers makes it possible to produce parts with challenging geometries which is not possible with conventional methods.

We produce CoCrMo and CoCrW powders for a wide range of applications. Our standard cuts for AM applications are 45/10 µm and 38/10 µm, this size range is optimal for achieving a balance between the flowability of the wear-resistant powder and the surface finish of the printed parts. Finer grains provide better surface finishes, while coarser grains are preferred for faster printing speeds. Our portfolio includes metal powders based on cobalt (Stellite®), nickel (Deloro®, Nistelle®) and iron-based alloys. Alloys listed in the table below are standard selection. Customized chemistries and grain size distributions can be provided on request.

Applications of CoCr Powder in Wear-Resistant 3D Printing

Medical Industry

One of the most significant applications of cobalt chrome powder is in the medical field, particularly for dental and orthopaedic implants. CoCr alloys are the industry standard when it comes to crowns and bridges, as well as partial dental frameworks or removeable partial dentures. The material's biocompatibility makes it safe for human implantation, and its strength ensures longevity and reliability of the implants. Dental parts are usually produced with selective laser melting technology. The 3D printer receives the powder with optimized grain sizes. A laser is used to selectively melt the cross-sections layer by layer and consequently forming the customized part. After depowdering, the part is placed in a furnace to relieve stress. Depending on the material, this can take several hours, whereas there are solutions for components made of CoCr alloys that only require around 30 minutes (Ref. 1).

Aerospace and Automotive Sectors

For aerospace and automotive industries, where high-strength and lightweight wear-resistant components are crucial.

Designers flourish in a novel environment where the traditional rule that complexity drives up manufacturing costs no longer applies. In the emerging world of additive manufacturing, there's a growing alignment between the goals of designers and financial experts. For example, engineers were able to reduce the number of parts of an injector inside the jet engine fuel nozzle from 20 to one, leading to a 25 percent weight reduction and reduced assembly times (Ref. 2). CoCr powder is invaluable to enable the production of parts that not only withstand high stress and temperatures but also maintain excellent wear resistance.

Industrial Tools and High-Wear Parts

Cobalt-chromium powder's wear resistance makes it perfect for industrial tools and machinery parts. Additive manufacturing's adaptability allows for the production of customized, wear-resistant parts, small batches, or spare parts, extending the operational life of machinery.

The Future of Wear-Resistant CoCr Powder in 3D Printing

CoCr powders are used as hard facing material for powder-based welding processes such as Plasma Transfer Arc (PTA) cladding or laser powder cladding and thermal spray processes in a wide range of industries where high-performance components are required. As a result, Deloro has decades of experience in the manufacture and application of Stellite® powders. Its unique combination of corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and interesting mechanical properties, such as ductility and high-cycle fatigue strength, makes it ideal for a wide range of applications. Due to these properties, CoCr powder will become increasingly important for powder metallurgy processes, especially 3D printing. With advances in 3D printing technology and material science, CoCr powder is expected to become more accessible and versatile, leading to innovative applications in various high-stress areas. In conclusion, cobalt chrome powder is not just a material; it's a cornerstone in the realm of wear-resistant 3D printing, offering unparalleled opportunities across diverse sectors. Its future in creating durable, wear-resistant parts is as promising as the innovative solutions it helps to forge, marking a new era in additive manufacturing for wear-resistant applications.


1. Hanssen, S. (2023) Metal Additive Manufacturing for digital dentistry: An introduction for dental professionals. In: Metal Additive Manufacturing Vol. 9 No.1 Spring 2023

2. GE Additive, available from:

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