Diamond is harder than anything else in nature. It is a key component in a large range of wear resistant tools in industry, but since it’s so hard and complicated to machine it is almost impossible to form complex shapes.
To solve this, Sandvik has developed a proprietary process making it possible to 3D print diamond composite, meaning that this super-hard material now can be printed in highly complex shapes – and can thereby revolutionize the way industries use the hardest natural material on the planet.
The additive manufacturing process is quite advanced. The Sandvik 3D printed diamond was created using a 3D printing process that is known as stereolithography. A very precise mixture made up of polymer and diamond powder is printed layer by layer by making use of ultraviolet light. However, that is not where the process ends.
The difference between Sandvik’s diamond and natural or synthetic diamond is that Sandvik’s is a composite material. Most of the material is diamond, but to make it printable and dense it needs to be cemented in a very hard matrix material, keeping the most important physical properties of pure diamond.