Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Flow Print Preparation Software
Sapphire Metal AM Family of Printers

Assure Quality Assurance and Control Questions

Material & Process Questions


Service & Support Questions

General Questions

What is Velo3D’s Unique Value Proposition?

Velo3D provides a fully integrated 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 three 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 a highly intelligent processes.

What Industries Does Velo3D Support?

Our focus is currently on solutions for businesses in the defense, aerospace, aviation, industrial power, automotive tooling 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 Types of Parts Typically Benefit from Velo3D’s Metal AM Solution?

Velo3D provides a unique fully integrated metal AM solution that is sold to OEMs and Contract Manufactures who then produce parts. Many of the parts manufactured on our solution help to optimize the flow of a fluid or the transfer of heat. These 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
  • HPDC Inserts
  • 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 advanced contract manufacturers who help to create our CM Network.

What are the Benefits of the Velo3D Fully Integrated Metal AM Solution?

The Velo3D fully integrated 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 enables engineers to reproduce metal AM parts globally. With a digital inventory supported by the Velo3D “Golden Print File,” engineers can transfer build instructions to any Velo3D machine of like alloy. This one standard print file allows you to consistently 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 fully integrated 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. With Flow, engineers can analyze their parts and apply the right solution for each feature. Flow now includes user-selectable core parameter sets that provide enhanced control over builds with the ability to assign different core instructions to parts within the same build. This, in addition to Flow’s ability to apply skin and contour overrides, gives customers enhanced control over the final material properties of printed parts.

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 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 can recognize some supports modeled in CAD.

What is Flow Developer?

Flow Developer, an optional feature of Flow, enables engineers to determine the optimal process for their application by unlocking the ability to transfer or create their own parameter sets into Flow. This eliminates the need to restart projects, granting access to Sapphire printers’ control, quality, and repeatability allowing engineers to achieve their program goals.

How do I obtain a license for Flow Developer?

Flow Developer is available as an option for users of Flow 7.0.  Please contact us here to schedule a demo or learn more.

Can I perform process qualification with Developer?

Yes, Developer contains a number of powerful tools to enable you to apply unique parameter values to multiple instances of a part facilitating a complete design of experiment (DoE).  Furthermore, you can copy from third party software and paste experiment table values directly into Developer

Sapphire Metal AM Family of Printers

What Are the Velo3D's Sapphire Build Volumes?

Sapphire – ø 315 mm x 400 mm height

Sapphire 1MZ – ø 315 mm x 1000 mm height

Sapphire XC – ø 600 mm x 550 mm height

Sapphire XC 1MZ – ø 600 mm 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 8.53m x 5.00*m 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.

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 100 mm all the way down to 500 μm 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.

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. 

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 fully integrated metal AM 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 fully integrated 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.

Material and Process Questions

What Materials Do You Support?

Velo3D Sapphire metal AM printer is now qualified with:

Aluminum F357, Copper C18150, forAM® Haynes® 282®*, GRCop-42, Hastelloy® C22, Hastelloy® X, Inconel® 625, Haynes® 214, Inconel® 718, M300 Tool Steel, Scalmalloy®, Stainless 415, and Titanium 6Al4V.

*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 recycling comes standard on all Sapphire printers. Unused powder is vacuumed and sieved to remove clumps or welding slag. Powder remains isolated in an inert environment throughout the print process and when vacuumed by the operator prior to opening the chamber. After the operator opens the chamber, any remaining powder should be considered scrap and disposed of properly.


What level of Security does Velo3D provide for its printers?

Velo3D is the first company to achieve the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) STIG GREEN compliance for metal AM printers. Required by the U.S. DoD for hardware connected to secure networks (SIPRNet and NIPRNet), STIG ensures adherence to the DoD’s best practice requirements for security.

What is protected with STIG compliance?

The average attack costs $4.45 million and that amount has risen 15% over the last three years1. For mission critical applications in aerospace, defense, and energy industries protection for cyberattacks is critical.

STIG-compliant devices are hardened against cyberattacks. That means that companies using STIG-compliant devices operate securely, safeguarding equipment, and intellectual property. In fact, for DoD entities, non-compliant printers cannot connect to networks and must follow a procedure called ‘air-gapping’ where files are loaded manually.


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, Europe and Australia.

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.