Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Flow™ Print Preparation Software
Sapphire® Metal AM Family of Printers
Assure™ Quality Assurance and Control Questions
Intelligent Fusion® Underlying Manufacturing Process
Material and Process Questions
Service and Support Questions

General Questions

What is Velo3D’s Unique Value Proposition?

Velo3D provides an end-to-end metal 3D printing solution for mission-critical parts used for space exploration, to enhance transportation efficiency, and to produce cleaner energy. Our advanced solution helps innovators build the complex parts they need without compromising design or quality, empowering the visionaries of today to build the technologies of tomorrow.

The Velo3D metal AM solution is comprised of four distinct components: Flow print preparation software; Sapphire family of metal 3D printers (Sapphire, Sapphire 1MZ, Sapphire XC, and Sapphire XC 1MZ); and Assure real-time quality assurance software, all of which is enabled by Intelligent Fusion, a highly intelligent processes that binds all of the above into one complete end-to-end manufacturing solution.

What Industries Does Velo3D Support?

Our focus is currently on solutions for businesses in the aerospace, aviation, industrial power, and oil & gas industries which have enormous catalogues of specialized parts. Production of these parts using conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques generally comes with very long lead times and high embedded cost structures relative to additive manufacturing (AM) solutions. Further, production of these high value parts using subtractive manufacturing techniques require the combination of many smaller parts into the final product.

What Are Typical High-Performance Metal AM Parts Printed for Aerospace, Energy, and Defense?

Velo3D manufactures a unique end-to-end metal additive manufacturing solution that is sold to OEMs and Contract Manufactures who then produce parts. The parts are highly-complex with unique geometries not achievable through traditional manufacturing methods or conventional AM systems. These include but are not limited to:

  • Impellers
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Specialized Valves
  • Rocket Nozzles with Internal Cooling
  • Static Mixers
  • Turbines, and
  • Combustors of all types
What is the Target Velo3D Customer Profile?

Our target customers include OEMs with vertically integrated operations as well as of contract manufacturers who are part of diverse supply chains.

What are the Benefits of the Velo3D End-to-End Solution?

The Velo3D end-to-end metal AM solution cuts lead time for traditionally manufactured parts by up to 75% without transportation delays, production line modification costs, supplier management and compliance costs, inventory, and warehousing costs, all while providing the production flexibility to instantly respond to customer and market demands.

Our solution provides the freedom to instantly choose where you need to produce/deliver a part. Simply upload the Velo3D “Golden Print File” to any Velo machine of like alloy. This one standard print file allows you to build that exact part on any Velo machine anywhere in the world—or any machine across the fleet in your own facility—without additional production line set up expense.

Will Metal AM Ever Reach Scale to Have Printers on the Manufacturing Floor?

Yes, it is happening today. The Velo3D end-to-end metal AM Sapphire XC solution is built for exactly that purpose. It reduces part costs up to 60% and has the capacity for many parts. As traditional manufacturing evolves, metal AM printers will become integral to manufacturing floors because of the many advantages of the technology.

Do Customers Need to Buy the System Vs. Just Get a Part at a Service Provider?

Companies have options to get the complex parts they need without design or quality compromise. Velo3D has built a global network of Contract Manufacturers that can produce parts as needed. The company also provides purchase options for our family of metal AM solutions enabling companies to start small and grow over time.

  • Sapphire for development and low volumes
  • Sapphire 1MZ for taller parts
  • Sapphire XC for production volume scale
  • Sapphire XC 1MZ for tall production scale 

Flow Print Preparation Software

Do You Offer Print Preparation Software, Or How Do I Prepare the Print?

Flow print preparation software is responsible for prescribing the manufacturing process for the Sapphire family of metal 3D printers. The software’s feature-based process library eliminates the need to develop new part-specific parameters sets—saving months of development time and reducing the need for specialized technicians.

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 imported CAD files 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.

In Flow, is It Possible for the User to Specify What Kind of Properties Are Wanted in Certain Areas of the Part?

Yes, Flow supports users with the ability to generate and select regions of interest and apply properties to those areas of interest.

Sapphire Metal AM Family of Printers

What Are the Velo3D's Sapphire Build Volumes?

Sapphire –315 mm ø x 400 mm height

Sapphire 1MZ – 315 mm ø x 1000 mm height

Sapphire XC – 600 mm ø x 550 mm height

Sapphire XC 1MZ – 600 mm ø x 1000 mm height

What Is the Sapphire Laser Configuration?

Sapphire and Sapphire 1MZ Printers – Two 1kW Lasers

Sapphire XC and Sapphire XC 1MZ Printers – Eight 1kW Lasers

What Are the External Dimensions of the Machine?

Sapphire and Sapphire1MZ – Total system footprint is 2.1m x 2.1m x 2.5m

Sapphire XC – Total system footprint is 8.53m x 3.35m x 4.25m

Sapphire XC 1MZ – Total system footprint is 8.53 x 5.00* x 4.75 m

*With build module in unpack position

Do I Have to Interrupt a Build to Refill Powder?

No, both powder and filters and be changed without interrupting a build. The standard system holds enough for two builds.

What Compliance Standards Does the Sapphire Printer Meet?

IEC 62368 3D printers

IEC 60204 Safety of Machinery

IEC 60825-1 Laser Safety

Emissions Including (conducted and radiated Emissions):

FCC 47 CFR Part 15, Subpart B, ANSI C63.4 (2009) – USA

ICES-003 Issue 6 – Canada

AS/NZS CISPR 32 – Australia/New Zealand

VCCI-CSPIR 32 – Japan

EN 55032:2015 – EU

KN 32 South Korea: Electromagnetic compatibility – Emission requirements

Immunity Including: (for the EU)

KN 35 South Korea: Electromagnetic compatibility – Immunity requirements

EN 55035:2017 EU Multimedia Immunity standard

IEC61000-4-2 Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

IEC61000-4-3 Radiated Frequency Immunity

IEC61000-4-4 Electrical Fast Transients Burst Immunity

IEC61000-4-5 Power Line Surge

IEC61000-4-6 RF Common Mode Immunity

IEC61000-4-8 Magnetic Fields (as applicable to the device or customer request)

IEC61000-4-11Voltage Dips and Interruptions

NFPA 484 chapter 13 for handling and transporting powder

Does the Recoater Wear During a Build?

Velo3D developed a unique non-contact recoater that does not wear or need regular replacement. However, like any other machine, we recommend regular preventive maintenance.

Can I Reuse the Overflow/Unused Powder?

Yes, by keeping oxygen levels extremely low, powder reuse is significantly extended over conventional metal AM systems.

What Is the Lowest Angle of a Design that Sapphire Can Print Without Supports?

Velo3D has a 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 significantly reduces or eliminates the need for post-processing, but it overcomes the “45-degree rule” – a conventional AM boundary requiring supports at angles less than 45 degrees. Velo3D frees designers to unlock a wealth of designs that can now be produced with additive technology.

How Does the System Respond to a Power Failure?

Sapphire has an optional uninterruptible power supply (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 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 Assure report for each build, giving the operator a summary of the quality of the print layer by layer and the performance of the machine throughout the process.

What Is the Maximum Inner Diameter of a Tube or Hole Size That Can Be Printed Without Supports?

It is possible to build inner diameters ranging from as large as 100mm all the way down to 500μm with Sapphire. If the geometry requires a larger inner diameter, the engineer can tilt the part by as little as a few degrees and expand that limit by more than two times. Similarly, once an engineer tilts the part, they can print features down to 300μm inner diameter holes.

What is the Highest Aspect Ratio That Can Be Printed?

The Velo Sapphire family of printers can print very thin walls, down to around 150μm. Importantly, even at this thickness, we can print to full z-height. This gives the printer the unprecedented ability to print aspect ratios of up to 6000:1

What Surface Roughness is Achievable?

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

What Kind of Post-Processing is Required After a Part is Printed?

Some post-processing may be required based on customer requirements. This may include heat treating, polishing, machining, or the removal of a couple of supports. Velo3D solutions requires significantly fewer if any supports than conventional AM systems.

Is the Velo3D System Capable of Producing Inorganic Shapes from Models Created by Generative Design?

Generally, the answer is yes.

What is Special About Your Recoater? What Does It Enable?

Velo3D uses a proprietary non-contact recoater designed to enable thinner walls, smaller inner diameter holes, lower angles, and higher aspect ratios.

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.

What Does Assure Do?

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

How Does Assure Improve Quality for 3D Printed Parts?

Assure provides unprecedented traceability of machine health, part integrity, and build reporting. It 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, multi-sensor, 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 Outside of the Velo3D Solution?

No. Assure is designed for and only works within the full Velo3D end-to-end solution.

Is Assure Necessary to Run a Velo3D Sapphire Metal 3D Printer?

Assure is not necessary to operate the Sapphire printer itself. However, Assure is essential to the high-quality output of the end-to-end metal AM solution, traceability, reporting, and compliance.

Which Web Browsers Support Assure?

Assure has been optimized for Chrome and Safari. It may not display correctly with other browsers. However, if you are using a recent Microsoft Edge browser that is Chrome based will work as well. Assure uses JavaScript. If you have a JavaScript blocker, please disable it.

What Type of Quality Testing is Done to Validate Parts? Non-Contact 3D Scanning, Acoustic, or Destructive?

Our customers define the requirements for quality testing they need to validate their parts. Velo3D generally does not print production parts for customers. For Velo3D printed development or POC parts, we have full access to non-contact 3D scanning, destructive, and CT testing. For production parts (OEMs or CMs) these tests are performed or outsourced depending on in-house equipment.

Do You Have In-Process Inspection?

Velo3D has a very sophisticated in-process inspection system including, but not limited to, using multiple sensors in the printer itself, a full topographical map of the part and powder bed on every layer using our height mapper system. We also obtain melt pool emission data from each laser which is used to identify potential process breakdowns.

Intelligent Fusion Underlying Manufacturing Process

What is Intelligent Fusion

IntelligentFusion is a highly intelligent processes that binds print preparation software, advanced metal printer patented technology, and quality assurance software into a complete end-to-end manufacturing solution by managing the information flow, sensor data, and the advanced printing technology for precision control of the entire 3D metal printing process.

How does Intelligent Fusion Work?

Intelligent Fusion underpins the entire Velo3D end-to-end manufacturing solution by overseeing several core functions:  Geometry-Based Detection and Build Process Monitoring.

Geometry-Based Detection

Intelligent Fusion is the key enabler for printing at low angles without the use of print supports. Specialized processes (recipes) were designed to minimize thermo-mechanical distortions and ensure high-quality surfaces at build angles as low as zero degrees.

Highly intelligent and sophisticated software uses geometric feature detection to apply the optimal physical processes to the appropriate features. To be able to do that, each geometric model is decomposed into various distinct geometric features and the appropriate optimal process is then applied automatically.

Additionally, the geometric feature detection algorithms use information from multiple layers, leveraging information from previous layers to define the print strategy for the next layer. The software can modify or adjusting parameters of the feedforward model and passing them on as instruction sets to the printer.

Monitoring the Build Process

To achieve consistent material properties across a printed part and reduce print variability from build to build, the Velo3D system ensures that every relevant build parameter is monitored throughout the build process.

Natural process instabilities caused by minute hardware and powder variations as well as the uncertainties in the feed-forward simulation model can cause the process to drift outside the acceptable range, thereby affecting the final part outcome. Intelligent Fusion solves this problem by measuring in real time and using that as real-time data to adjust process parameters in-situ to ensure consistent outcomes.

To achieve consistent material properties across a printed part and reduce print variability from build to build, the Velo3D system ensures that every relevant build parameter is monitored throughout the build process.

Material and Process Questions

What Materials Do You Support?

Velo3D Sapphire metal AM printer is now qualifies with:

Aluminum F357, Amperprint® 0233 Haynes® 282®*, GRCop-42, Hastelloy® C22, Hastelloy® X, Inconel® 625, Inconel® 718, Scalmalloy®, Ti64 Grade 23, and Ti64 Grade 5.

*The nickel-based superalloy powder is developed for use in the Sapphire family of printers, produced by Höganäs AB—a world leader in metal powder production—under license from Haynes International.

For LPBF, How Many Times Can the Powder Be Reused? How Does Your System Recycle Powder?

Powder can be used virtually indefinately then returned to the powder hopper. Unused powder is vacuumed up and sieved to remove clumps or welding slag. Powder remains in an inert environment as long as you are careful to vacuum up all the powder when the build is done and before opening the chamber.

Service and Support Questions

What is Your Technical Support Commitment to Customers?

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.

How Does Velo3D Help a Customer Through the Process?

Our dedicated applications engineers are there for you through every step of the AM process, shepherding the design, development, POC, and manufacturing phases to ensure the best project outcomes. In many ways, we become an extension of your existing team.

Does Velo3D Have Global Support?

Velo3D is a global company with offices and representation in North America, Asia, and Europe.

How Do I Reach Out to Velo3D to Assist with a Part, or Find Out More About a System?

Simply click on “Speak with an Engineer” at the top of any page on this site, complete our contact form, and one of our experts will reach out promptly to answer any questions and discuss specific products or applications with you.

What is the SLA for Velo3D Support?

Velo3D has an extensive Service Agreement that includes PM, Repair Parts, Select Upgrades, Product Support, and Software licenses. Product Support under our standard service Level agreement includes Access to Customer Support Portal: Software, documentation, ticketing, product notices, service history, knowledgebase, file transfer (SFTP). Assigned Customer Success Agent: Weekly meetings and customer support responses. Applications Support: Training, part reviews, and slicing support. Engineering Support: Quarterly priorities alignment, advanced troubleshooting as required.