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Expert Insight

3D printed (hot work) tool steel H11 (1.2343)

The 3D printing wave is spreading inexorably and is not stopping at tool and mould making. Additive manufacturing of metal parts has been possible for a long time and can offer benefits compared to a conventional approach. For example, in tool and mould making, mould cores with near-contour tempering can be produced.

The tempering channel patterns manufactured with a 3D printing process cannot be produced conventionally and offer a more homogeneous and faster heat dissipation, so that, for example, injection-moulded and die-casted components can be produced with higher quality as well as with shorter cycle times.

Although the benefits are obvious, the use of additively manufactured mould cores often fails due to scepticism regarding the available materials. The tool steels which can be printed well in powder beds and are available to date are low-carbon ageing steels and generally meet with little acceptance within the tool and mould making industry, especially for highly stressed parts. Steels with a higher carbon content, such as the hot work tool steel H11 (1.2343), cannot be printed reliably with conventional LPBF machines.

As a plastics processing company with its own engineering, tool and mould construction and plastic injection moulding shop, we have been using 3D printed mould inserts with near-contour tempering channels for a long time. We can report first-hand how our customers and we benefit from 3D printed mould insersts along the entire value chain - from engineering to use - and how the acquisition of our own metal 3D printer and the possibility of printing the standard hot-work tool steel H11 (1.2343) has helped our customers and us.

The speaker is:
Thomas Weinmann, Leiter Additive Fertigung, H&B Electronic GmbH & Co. KG


  • Materials
  • Tool and die making