Tuesday, August 01, 2017

3D Printing becomes real

3D printing has promised to revolutionize manufacturing for years yet has failed to live up to that promise until now.

The production system is built for speed, to a degree that has never been seen before. Faster than machining, casting, forging or any other technique, each production printer can produce up to an incredible 500 cubic inches of complex parts per hour. That's 100 times quicker than a laser-based alternative, with zero tooling.

Indeed, it prints faster than those hybrid microwave furnaces can sinter. To reach the full production speed, you'll need up to four furnaces per printer.

The Production printers use a different process called Single Pass Jetting, explained in the video above.

Instead of bound metal rod cartridges like the Studio printer uses, the Production machines use powders, which are bonded together during printing by spray-jetted droplets of a binder solution. They use regular, low-cost, easily available MIM powders. That's another huge advantage over laser machines, which need expensive powders with very precise particle sizes. Material costs here will be up to 20 times lower.

This, combined with the lack of tooling and job setup costs, can bring 3D printed metal parts down cheap enough to compete with traditional manufacturing processes for the first time.

May you live in interesting times. - Chinese Proverb

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