Materials development, mechanical design, cutting structure modelling/simulation, advanced manufacturing process are the key necessities for producing high-quality, superior-performing drill bits. Among all, the bit body materials and manufacturing method are the key limiting factors for geometric design and bit life. Conventionally processed materials used for drill bit bodies, either a metal matrix body (Tungsten carbide particles infiltrated with copper alloy binder) or a steel body with hand-applied hardfacing material, have reached the limit of certain properties.

Recently, an Additive Manufacturing (AM) method has gained rapid expansion from prototyping to industrial scale production with the capability of building complicated shapes and competitive properties. This paper presents the innovative work that went into developing the AM powder containing extremely hard tungsten carbide particles and directly printing this matrix composite parts then to be used in manufacturing drill bits for challenging drilling applications.

Additionally, other benefits of adopting AM technology include minimized greenhouse gas emission (GHGE); thus, boosting sustainability.

Multiple field application cases with polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) drill bits dressed with AM components are presented to show the performance improvement over conventional counterparts.

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