3D printing in San Diego can be done with aluminum. In order to do this, you will need to use a technology called DMLS, which stands for Direct Metal Laser Sintering. This is a very advanced manufacturing technology, it uses powdered metals as a base. A laser will selectively bind the metal particles together, which is done layer-by-layer. After one layer has been sintered the machine will distribute a new layer of aluminum. A support structure will be needed if you want to 3D print in aluminum. However, this can be removed manually.
What is the material?
If you want to 3D print in aluminum then you will obviously use aluminum as a base, although this is a powder. This will be sintered together with the help of the laser. Usually, this leads to a strong and precise print, which can handle details of 0.25 millimeters. Spare parts can be created with the 3D printed aluminum, but functional components as well of course. You can even use it to print jewelry if that is what you want. By the way, you could also decide to use aluminum for sheet metal fabrication.
Thickness, details, and geometry
In order to get a perfect aluminum 3D print, the thickness of the wall needs to be at least 1 millimeter. Besides that, it is a very good material if the print needs to have small details. The DMLS technology offers an extremely fine level of detail, that could be as small as 0.25 millimeter. However, it is important to take the geometry of your design in account. Organic and freeform shapes will likely look better than straight lines, right angles, and angular shapes. This is mostly the case since the surfaces will be better and smoother.
Support structures and holes
As mentioned before, support structures are necessary if you want to 3D print aluminum. Direct Metal Laser Sintering simply cannot work without support. It keeps your print rigid during printing. These support structures are generated automatically and will be 3D printed in aluminum as well. Afterward, they can be removed by hand. This has a disadvantage because you can not create hinged parts, nested objects, and interlinking pieces with help of DMLS due to the support structures. If your design has holes they need to have a minimum diameter of 1 millimeter. If they are smaller then the powder will get stuck inside the print