Forget Plastic: Molten Metal 3D Printers Are Coming

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chicofehr

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Jan 29, 2012
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I want to print a solid metal case for my phone and take the guts out and put it in it. OK that might be weird but I would try it if I could.
 

Spooderman

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Jan 13, 2013
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This is really cool and could be incredibly useful if the price comes down enough. However, I assume that metal for the machine to consume will be pretty pricey.
 

TeraMedia

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Every hardware store in the world worth the parking lot it sits next to should have one of these, connected to an online special parts catalog.
 
Aug 15, 2013
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I can see some use for making bespoke titanium medical implants and the like but I'm sure that people will find a ton of great ways to use the technology once it exists.

However, the big problem I see is that you won't be able to print many alloys (like steel) very well because the material properties of metal alloys are highly dependent on how you cool the molten metal.

 

noob2222

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doing the transfer from the melting pot to the print head is going to be the tough part. copper is melted at ~1000c. The print head itself would have to maintain that temperature in order to keep it from becoming a solid again. The object being made must also be cooled at an even rate or it will warp, especially with soft metals such as aluminum. In order to make anything from steel, the print head would likely need to be tungsten. Another difficulty is going to be keeping the molten metal from oxidizing.

Nasa is working on SLM (selective laser melting) for this type of project. (sls on steroieds)

One thing about it, using it in winter time will cut down on heating costs :)
 

coovargo

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@cos2012

Zachary Vader, 20, who has studied mechanical engineering, was reticent to explain exactly how the family's technology works. But in broad terms, he said that the process — called liquid metal jet printing or direct-to-metal printing — uses magnetism to propel melted metal onto the printer bed. Some metals already have magnetic properties. For others, like the aluminum the machine will first support, the printer first has to apply an electrical charge to the metal.

Read much?
 

Gary Brandon

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@cos2012:

Being dragged behind a pickup truck because of your race is hate. Having your church burned down by people of another religion is hate. Ethnic cleansing is hate. Pointing out that you should have read the article a little closer is not hate, no hatter how sarcastically it is done.

Please don't diminish the meaning of "hate". If the meaning of the word is diminished, then eventually no one will care when confronted with acts of real hate.
 

shin0bi272

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When is nasa going to do the replicated pizza? They said that they were working on it ... Thats going to be cool too. Though I guess this thing would start to allow you to "download a car" like the lawyers said when the riaa sued napster...
 

memadmax

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This is great for aluminum but not much else.

Better to print a plastic cast, then forge the metal piece using "lost plastic" or wax investment casting.
 

Jonjolt

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I'd like to know how the metal crystal structure fairs, I'm guessing not so good. When you're heating the metal and adding electricity what's stopping the oxidization process within the material. For 20,000 - 100,000 I could get a good CNC mill.
 
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