Frequently Asked Questions

By reducing the need to re-design parts for Additive Manufacturing, engineers can realize the vast potential that lies in metal 3D printing. Velo3D addresses the most difficult additive manufacturing challenges by delivering a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that takes additive manufacturing capabilities far beyond today’s standard.


What is SupportFree?

Metal Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing, is mainly a welding process featuring rapid solidification of melt pools. During solidification and cooling, the parts experience thermal and residual stresses. Supports serve two purposes: first, as anchors to restrain the part and keep it from moving due to thermal distortion and second, to enable heat transfer. However, after printing, engineers must remove the supports through post processing steps. Post processing adds costs and processing delays. More importantly, it limits the design freedom of this new manufacturing method.

Velo3D separates itself from existing powder bed fusion solutions with its unique ability to print low angles and overhangs down to zero degrees (horizontal), as well as large diameters and inner tubes up to 100mm without the need for supports. SupportFree technology not only eliminates the need for post-processing, but it overcomes the “45 degree rule” – a boundary requiring supports at angles less than 45 degrees. Velo3D frees designers to build the impossible – unlocking a wealth of designs that can be produced with additive technology. See more on our SupportFree page:

Sapphire® 3D Metal Printer Questions

What new capabilities does Velo3D provide for contract manufacturers?

Velo3D enables contract manufacturers to change their design rules, bid on parts previously thought too risky, manufacture at a higher quality, and leverage SupportFree processes to build the impossible. Most 3D Printed metal parts limit their overhang angles without supports to ~ 45 degrees. To go below, conventional printers rely on supports that are often laborious to remove and require extensive post processing. Velo3D allows designers to build overhangs down to zero degrees (horizontal) without supports. By eliminating internal supports, manufacturers are able to print parts that would typically be considered impossible. See more in our contract manufacturer’s section.

What is Velo3D's Sapphire build volume?

Sapphire’s standard configuration is 315mm diameter, true z height of 400mm with 25mm thick build plate.
Sapphire’s 1Mz configuration is 315mm diameter, true z height of 1000mm with 25mm thick build plate.

What is the laser configuration?

Dual, full range, 1kW lasers.

What are the external dimensions of the machine?

Sapphire’s standard configuration total system footprint is 6ft 11in (2.1m) per side and 7ft 11in (2.4m) tall.

Do I have to interrupt a build to refill powder?

All consumables maintenance can be done without interrupting a build, and the system holds sufficient powder for over two full builds.

Does the recoater wear during a build?

Velo3D developed a unique non-contact recoater that does not wear or need regular replacement. How does a non-contact recoater work? It uses the most common thing in the universe.

Can I reuse the overflow/unused powder?

Yes, by keeping oxygen levels extremely low (<10ppm), powder reuse is significantly extended over conventional metal AM systems.

How does the system respond to a power failure?

Sapphire has an optional UPS that can be purchased to enable it to ride through facility power fluctuations, and to gracefully shut down in the event of a major and sustained power outage.

What is your technical support commitment to a customer?

We believe that selling a unit is just the beginning of a professional relationship. We are committed to support in all forms (Phone, email, in-person). Your success is our success.

What happens when the system discovers an error?

The build is paused, and the operator is notified. Remote alerts (i.e. email) are supported.

What monitoring and diagnostics do you report?

Sapphire auto-generates an Intelligent Fusion report for each build, giving the operator a summary of the quality of the print and the performance of the machine.

FLOW™ Print Preparation Software Questions

Do you offer print preparation software, or how do I prepare the print?

Flow print preparation software is included with each purchase of a Velo3D solution. Flow ensures predictable print outcomes while significantly reducing print preparation time. Driven by a powerful, integrated simulation engine and co-developed with Sapphire, Flow unlocks parts previously impossible to print with Additive Manufacturing (AM).

What import file formats do you support?

Unlike other systems that are based on mesh-based workflows and thus require mesh import, Flow is designed with native CAD workflow in mind. Using CAD data provides for a better user experience and more control in the preparation of a build. It also prevents loss of the design intent that happens when CAD models are converted to meshes,. Flow supports the import of the majority of native CAD formats, as well as Translation file formats such as .stp , iges, or .x_t.

Can you import lattice structures?

Yes, Flow supports the output from many different commercially-available lattice generation tools in file formats such as .3mf, .ltcx, .csv.

Do you accept slices generated in other preparation software?

No. Leveraging our simulation capabilities requires that the file be a three-dimensional description of the part.

Are the supports auto-generated or can I override/design my own?

Flow supports users with the ability to generate and select regions of interest and apply supports where they see fit. Regions (saved selection sets) make the application of supports and application of sub-processes easy and organized. Flow features beam, wall, thin wall, and tree support types and recognizes as Support type, supports that were modeled in CAD.

ASSURE™ Quality Assurance and Control Questions

Does Velo3D offer a quality control solution?

Yes. We offer the Assure Quality Assurance and Control System to customers of Velo3D Sapphire metal 3D printers. Contact sales for commercial terms.

What does Assure do?

Working in concert with Sapphire and Flow, Assure, a revolutionary quality control system, enables visibility into every layer of the build through real-time, multisensor, physics-based excursion detection algorithms.

How does Assure improve quality for 3D printed Parts?

Provides unprecedented traceability of machine health, part integrity, and build reporting. Assure helps you understand if machine health is optimal before a build begins by monitoring optics, sensors, consumables, and powder bed quality, and displaying the data directly on the dashboard for all printers. Assure also predicts bulk material properties, in real-time, for each part through real-time, multisensor, physics-based excursion detection algorithms.

What type of documentation is available for printed parts?

Assure automatically generates a detailed build report that can form the foundation of a Certificate of Compliance. This report offers full traceability of system performance and any predicted part defects during the build.

Is Assure available for printed parts?

No, Assure is only available for the Velo3D Sapphire printer.

Is Assure necessary to run a Velo3D Sapphire metal 3D printer?

Assure is not necessary to operate the Sapphire printer. However, Assure provides the traceability of printed parts necessary for many end market applications. Consult with your customer to determine if documentation of part quality is important for their application.

Which web browsers support Assure?

Assure has been optimized for Chrome and Safari. It may not display correctly with other browsers. As­sure uses Javascript. If you have a Javascript blocker, please disable it.

Materials Questions

What materials do you support?

Velo3D Sapphire metal AM printer is now qualified for:

Nickel: Inconel® 718, Inconel® 625, Hastelloy® C22, and Hastelloy® X

Titanium: Ti64 Grade 23, and Ti64 Grade 5

Aluminum: F357, and Scalmalloy®

Contact engineering for more information on what Velo3D can do for your industrial applications.

What is the lowest angle of a design that Sapphire can print without supports?

Velo3D separates itself from existing powder bed fusion solutions with its unique ability to print low angles and overhangs down to zero degrees (horizontal), as well as large diameters and inner tubes up to 100mm without the need for supports. This not only eliminates the need for post-processing, but it overcomes the “45 degree rule” – a boundary requiring supports at angles less than 45 degrees. Velo3D frees designers to build the impossible – unlocking a wealth of designs that can be produced with additive technology. Velo3D supports printing angles down to 10 degrees without supports.

What is the maximum inner diameter of a tube or hole size that can be printed without supports?

Sapphire is capable of of printing 100mm ID horizontal tubes without supports.

What is the highest aspect ratio that can be printed?

Sapphire is currently able to print up to full build height at minimum thickness for a maximum of 3000:1 aspect ratio.

What surface roughness is achievable?

Depending upon the geometry, Sapphire can print parts with surface roughness below 5 microns SA.

What kind of post-processing is required after a part is printed?

As with other powder bed fusion systems, some post-processing is required to remove supports. Sapphire includes SupportFree capabilities and generally requires significantly fewer supports than conventional AM systems. On conventional AM systems, low angle surfaces typically require supports at less than 45 degrees. With Sapphire, low angle surfaces can be built, unsupported, to less than 10 degrees. See our white papers for details.