3D printing of a metal check valve


[SunShine] worked on 3D-printed pumps and similar parts with the goal of building smaller, more compact hydraulic systems. His latest effort involves print functional hydraulic check valves that can be integrated seamlessly into its designs.

Unlike many 3D printing enthusiasts, [SunShine] works with laser powder bed type metal printers. His expectations for his parts were therefore very high, and he aimed to create check valves that could withstand high hydraulic pressures.

After much work, [SunShine] came up with two 3D printed check valve designs that would work. However, they both required internal removal of the support structures which could not be achieved without opening them. He then figured out that he could use a special process using nitric acid to carefully eat away at a very precise amount of metal inside the valves, which would remove the supporting material without destroying the entire valve itself.

Although the valves could not be tested above 400 bar due to the equipment available, they performed as expected. As a bonus, they actually sealed better because they got more use, because the sealing surfaces pressed in and deformed to fit together.

The video is then completed with a simple plastic check valve design you can print at home. It reminds us of other valves we’ve seen created with 3D printing. Video after the break.

Thanks to [Zane Atkins] for the tip!


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