Binder Jetting of Hard Metal and Tool Steels for Cutting Tools

ExOne Case Study

TECNALIA Research & Innovation uses its material and manufacturing expertise to develop innovative designs for M2 and WC-Co cutting tools

TECNALIA Research & Innovation focuses on one goal: to transform technology into GDP and improve people's quality of life by generating business opportunities for industry. Dr. Iñigo Agote, Project Manager and Group Leader at TECNALIA, and his team work with a variety of additive manufacturing technologies, including ExOne binder jetting on their Innovent®.

The harsh conditions of modern machining operations require tools with excellent hardness and fracture toughness, together with high expectations for wear resistance, surface quality, and dimensional tolerances. Hard metals such as tungsten carbide cobalt (WC-Co) and tool steels such as M2 are ideal for such applications because of their excellent and well-balanced hardness/fracture toughness, high temperatures resistance, and wear resistance, yet can be difficult to manufacture, even for some 3D printing technologies.

In this case study, you'll learn how:

  • TECNALIA uses its scientific and research knowledge to help companies be more successful with disruptive binder jetting technology
  • Binder jet additive manufacturing overcomes the limitations of the beam-based additive manufacturing processes for desirable yet challenging-to-process hard metals and tool steels
  • Design freedom enables cooling channels that improve performance to be integrated directly into designs
  • The flexibility of the ExOne Innovent machine to customize parameter settings combined with the process and materials expertise of the TECNALIA team to tailor the properties for this application led to the breakthrough that delivered final parts with the required properties


“After sintering, parts with densities comparable to  traditionally manufactured commercial parts were obtained. In addition, the hardness and fracture toughness for the material was also comparable.”

Dr. Iñigo Agote, Project Manager and Group Leader, TECNALIA

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