Machine design

_Desktop Metal®

Machine design

Custom, complex parts made easy - from design exploration to replacement parts


Using 3D printing, machine designers can print and test multiple variations of a part to quickly optimize designs. With greater design freedom, engineers can create parts that are unattainable with machining and consolidate large assemblies into fewer parts.

Without the need for tooling, manufacturers can customize and print new and replacement parts on demand, eliminating the need to warehouse thousands of different parts.

_Case Study [A]

Enabling low-cost, custom components

With the ability to quickly and inexpensively create custom components, the Studio System allows UMC engineers to print and test multiple design variants, create otherwise difficult-to-produce geometry, and explore assembly consolidation.

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Machine design made easy

_Industry partners

A number of companies use 3D printing for machine design, and Desktop Metal products allow them to quickly create custom parts that cannot be made via traditional methods, as well as new designs tailored to increase efficiency.

  • AWL Techniek Logo
    [AWL Techniek]
  • Lockheed Martin Logo
    [Lockheed Martin]
  • MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions Logo
    [MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions]
  • Add-It Logo
  • Bazigos Logo
  • Soprofame Logo
  • 3M Logo
  • The MITRE Corporation Logo
    [The MITRE Corporation]
  • Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co. Logo
    [Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co.]
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From prototyping to mass production

_3D printing solutions

Desktop Metal manufactures 3D printing solutions for all scales of production - from complex prototypes and on-demand tooling to rapid manufacture of thousands of parts.

Part Gallery

_Machine design applications

3D printing provides a greater degree of freedom for machine designers - enabling assembly consolidation and easy manufacture of otherwise costly, complex one-off parts.

  • Balance Shaft Gears

    PEKK + CF
    This part is a balance shaft gear used in an automotive turbocharger to reduce vibration.

    Balance Shaft Gears

    • Size (mm) 117 x 117 x 15
      Cost ($) 53.37
      Weight (g) 63
      Print time (hr) 11
    • Printing in PEEK delivers a lighter part compared to metal counterparts, while still meeting the strength and heat requirements.

      With the ability to print industrial-grade composites like PEEK with continuous carbon fiber reinforcement, Fiber™ allows engineers to print parts that can stand up to high temperatures and have unrivaled part strength - without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Worm Gear Shaft

    17-4 PH
    This meshes with a custom worm gear — determining rotational speed and enabling high torque transmission.

    Worm Gear Shaft

    • Size (mm) 147 x 30 x 34
      Cost to print ($) 73.00
      Cost to machine ($) 391.13
      Cost reduction 81.34%
    • A common component in gear drives, worms gear drives are used when space is limited, to transfer power or increase rotation speeds.

      Metal 3DP eliminates complex and time consuming machining operations required when iterating on worm gear shaft designs.

  • Gear Rack

    17-4 PH
    This component is used in a linear actuator with a timing gear to repeatedly push a component.

    Gear Rack

    • Size (mm) 170 x 65 x 27
      Cost to print ($) 130.00
      Cost to machine ($) 395
      Cost reduction 67.00%
    • Rack and pinions are a common method for linear actuations. This part is used with a timing gear to repeatedly push a component so another operation can be performed.

      Because only a few of these parts needed to be produced for a select number of machines, 3D printing is a perfect option. Machining the part would require multiple setups and a long lead time due to complex features like gear teeth and a deep center channel.

  • Roller Screw

    17-4 PH
    This part is a roller screw for use in a linear actuator.

    Roller Screw

    • Size (mm) 28 x 28 x 88
      Cost to print ($) 48.00
      Cost to machine ($) 210.00
      Cost reduction 77.14%
    • This part was traditionally made by cutting the threads on a lathe, then welding two gears either end of the part.

      By printing this part on the Studio System the assembly can be consolidated into one part and be produced quicker and more affordably than traditional machining.

  • Bus Bar

    This bus bar is used for local high current power distribution, since its gets hot while doing this, the bus bar features internal conformal cooling passages.

    Bus Bar

    • Size (mm) 188 x 73 x 43
      Cost to print ($) 272.00
      Cost to machine ($) 1994.00
      Cost reduction 86.36%
    • This bus bar design features complex cooling channels running throughout its core - requiring a multi-part assembly if manufactured via traditional methods.

      Printing in copper on the Studio System allows this bus bar to easily be made as a single component in just a few days. The part is printed as a single component and features internal cooling channels to keep the bus bar cool as power flows through it.

  • Herringbone Gears

    Herringbone gears are advantageous for their smooth power transfer and self aligning nature.

    Herringbone Gears

    • Size (mm) 39 x 39 x 25
      Cost to print ($) 30.00
      Cost to machine ($) 153.43
      Cost reduction 80.39%
    • The complex nature of herringbone gear teeth make them very difficult to manufacture in low volumes. By printing on the Studio System, custom gear sizes and geometries can be produced in just days.

  • BattleBots Bot Motor Housing

    PEEK + CF
    Created for a BattleBots, this motor housing was custom-designed to hold an electric motor.

    BattleBots Bot Motor Housing

    • Size (mm) 108 x 128 x 24.3
      Cost ($) 63.68
      Weight (g) 75
      Print time (hr) 10
    • This part holds a motor in place on a combat robot used in the Discovery Channel program, BattleBots. During competition, the bots are subjected to competitors weapons, including saws, axes, and flamethrowers. To withstand the significant stresses and heat, PEEK with Carbon Fiber reinforcement was selected.

      On the show, BattleBots teams have very limited time to design and manufacture their bot, so utilizing 3DP is essential. By printing this motor housing, the team was able to get the part in their hands in just a few hours. This allowed them to quickly iterate on the part.

  • GRIT Lever Connectors

    PA6 + FG
    A pair of these level connectors are used in custom, all-terrain wheelchairs.

    GRIT Lever Connectors

    • Size (mm) 86 x 89 x 47
      Cost ($) 12.67
      Weight (g) 78
      Print time (hr) 12
    • All-terrain wheelchairs manufactured by Grit are powered entirely by the user - making weight reduction, strength, and stiffness critical to performance. Traditionally machined out of aluminum in custom low quantities, these level connectors typically require a multiple week lead time.

      Printing on Fiber in fiberglass-reinforced PA6 enables shorter lead times, reduced weight and greater customization - all while increasing part strength and stiffness.

  • Lathe Gear

    17-4 PH
    This part is a replacement gear for vintage (circa 1940) lathe.

    Lathe Gear

    • Size (mm) 82 x 82 x 27
      Cost to print ($) 58.00
      Cost to machine ($) 260.67
      Savings vs. machining 77.70%
    • In some cases, replacement parts are no longer available, either off the shelf or from the OEM. Fabricating custom gears via hobbing and broaching is often prohibitively expensive, but metal 3D printing allows for the fabrication of legacy parts at much lower cost.

  • Killacycle Coupling

    17-4 PH
    This part is a taper lock coupling designed for a high-end, custom motorcycle.

    Killacycle Coupling

    • Size (mm) 70 x 70 x 32
      Cost per part ($) 86.94
      Parts per build 15
      Weekly throughput 137
    • The Killacycle is an electrically-powered motorcycle built for drag racing. Using the Shop System, engineers were able to design for function rather than for the manufacturing method, allowing them to use a tapered design that would be difficult to manufacture via traditional methods.

      The Shop system allowed for a greatly accelerated manufacturing lead time, allowing the team to rapidly iterate on the part.

  • Sensor Holder

    17-4 PH
    This part is used to hold multiple sensors while measurements are taken in a running machine.

    Sensor Holder

    • Size (mm) 37 x 23 x 18
      Cost per part ($) 7.80
      Parts per build 186
      Weekly throughput 1,490
    • The intricate geometry of this sensor holder make the part an ideal candidate for the Shop system. The part was printed with an extreme reduction in both manufacturing lead time and part cost.

      Printing on the Shop System also allows for manufacturing flexibility - when the design needs to be modified to incorporate different sensors, engineers can simply send a revised file to the printer.

  • Custom Bolt

    17-4 PH
    This custom-designed bolt is used in specific applications.

    Custom Bolt

    • Size (mm) 70 x 16 x 12
      Cost per part ($) 1.10
      Parts per build 2,280
      Annual throughput 829,920
    • Due to the high cost of hard tooling, most bolts are manufactured in quantities of millions. For this bolt, however, only a few tens of thousands were needed. By printing on the Production System this bolt can be produced with no tooling at an dramatically reduced cost per part.

  • Ntopology Gear

    17-4 PH
    This gear features a complex internal lattice structure only achievable via 3D printing.

    Ntopology Gear

    • Size (mm) 63 x 63 x 12.5
      Cost per part ($) 6.09
      Parts per build 460
      Annual throughput 165,980
    • This part features a complex lattice structure used to lightweight the part while still providing strength.

      The Production System allows for the manufacturing of complex geometries that cannot be manufactured any other way.

  • Stator

    17-4 PH
    This stator is designed for use in a small electric motor.


    • Size (mm) 60 x 60 x 16
      Cost per part ($) 2.82
      Parts per build 460
      Annual throughput 189,700
    • This stator is part of a small electric motor that was produced in low volume, making it difficult to justify the cost of hard tooling for metal injection molding (MIM). The entire run of parts could be produced in one run of the Production System at the desired part cost and greatly reduced manufacturing lead time.

  • Mounting Flange

    This part is the front flange of a worm gear speed reducer, allowing for the connection of different sized motors.

    Mounting Flange

    • Size (mm) 144 x 144 x 43
      Cost to print ($) 364.00
      Cost to machine ($) 1015.00
      Cost reduction 64.17%
    • When it goes into mass production, this flange will be cast, followed by multiple machining operations.

      Using the Studio System, this part can be quickly prototyped and iterated on without casting, greatly reducing the part cost and fabrication lead time.

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