ORNL Reveals the Unique Capabilities of 3-D Printing

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated an additive manufacturing method to control the structure and properties of metal components with precision unmatched by conventional manufacturing processes.

Silver and 3D Printing: A New Source of Demand?

At the end of July, The Silver Institute released a report called The Outlook for New Electrical and Electronic Uses of Silver. Prepared by Metals Focus, it looks at three potential areas of growth for the white metal: flexible electronics, light-emitting diodes and interposers.

NASA Takes Another 3D Printed Step

We’ve written previously of NASA’s experiments with 3D printed rocket components. It seems they’ve taken another key step forward with 3D printing. 

What’s MatterFab Developing?

Startup company MatterFab is said to be developing a new kind of 3D metal printer. We spoke with CEO Matt Burris to find out more. 

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ColorFabb’s Metal Filament: bronzeFill

ColorFabb has made a habit of introducing new and unusual plastic filaments for personal 3D printers, and now they’ve made a breakthrough with a metal filament: bronzeFill. 

ECN Develops A DLP Metal Printing Technique

Researchers at the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) have developed a new technique for 3D printing that can create metal parts without melting its mineral material.

NASA’s 3D Printed Instruments

NASA is experimenting with 3D printing techniques to develop not one, but at least three different solutions to space instrument manufacturing issues. 

Metal Powder Gets Cheaper

Metal producer Metalysis has invented a much more efficient method to make fine metal powder. Currently the price of titanium powder ranges from USD$200-400 per kg as it is made through a complex multi-step process. Metalysis’ new process involves a single step and should reduce the price accordingly.    While this is quite important for… Continue reading Metal Powder Gets Cheaper

The Newton3D Metal 3D Printer

Personal 3D printers have a limitation: materials. Typically used with plastic, many people would like to 3D print in metal. Now there seems to be an option for personal metal 3D printing: the Newton3D, “built from the research of Esteban Schunemann, PhD student at Brunel University”.    We don’t know very much about this mysterious… Continue reading The Newton3D Metal 3D Printer

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Open Source Metal 3D Printing

We ran across an interesting project that’s attempting to create a system for 3D printing metal at very low cost. The idea is to do for metal manufacturing what was done for plastic manufacturing with current open source 3D printers.    The project, by Andreas Bastian, is entitled “An Open Source Selective Laser Sintering 3D… Continue reading Open Source Metal 3D Printing

ESA’s Launch into Metal 3D Printing

The European Space Agency has launched an initiative to develop complex metal 3D printing techniques for space missions. The Amaze initiative (standing for “Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste and Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Products”, somehow) brings together 28 different organizations that have a stake in the process, either by research (Universities) or industry… Continue reading ESA’s Launch into Metal 3D Printing

Your Rocket Is Now 3D Printed

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been working with NASA to develop a way to 3D print rockets. Well, not the WHOLE rocket, but certain critical parts, namely an Injector Assembly.    They’re working on a completely integrated manufacturing process  with Selective Laser Melting technology that will be capable of rapidly producing “highly critical rocket engine components”. We… Continue reading Your Rocket Is Now 3D Printed

Optomec’s Mini Metal Printer

In the world of 3D printing, bigger really is better,  but New Mexico-based Optomec plans to take things in a different direction.  The company will bring selective laser sintering down to the micro scale with their new Laser Engineered Net Shaping printer.   Originally created at Sandia National Labs for use by the military and… Continue reading Optomec’s Mini Metal Printer

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3D Systems Acquires Phenix Systems

3D Systems continues its acquisition run with the announcement they’ve agreed to take on Phenix Systems, a manufacturer of metal 3D printing devices.    France-based Phenix Systems uses the “Direct Metal Selective Laser Sintering” process, which uses high-powered lasers to fuse layers of metal powder into solid objects at very fine resolutions. The process is… Continue reading 3D Systems Acquires Phenix Systems

GE’s Making 3D Printed Jets

The prestigious MIT Technology Review has named General Electric’s work on 3D printing as one of its “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013”.    Specifically, GE is developing a metal nozzle for its LEAP jet engine. They will use 3D metal printers to produce the nozzles, which will be lighter in weight due to an advanced design… Continue reading GE’s Making 3D Printed Jets

UMT Develops 3D Printing Metal Smoothing Technology

We had a brief encounter with Alexander Lobovsky, P.E., who is a partner with United Materials Technologies of New Jersey. Lobovsky’s company is developing a new method for smoothing 3D metal prints.    The problem with metal 3D prints is the same as plastic: printing by layer causes visible ridges on the object. These can… Continue reading UMT Develops 3D Printing Metal Smoothing Technology

Companies to Explore the Next Generation Concepts for 3D Metal Printing Machinery

Sigma Labs Inc. announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Interactive Machines, Inc. (IMI) of Southwick, Massachusetts. The MOU sets forth the parties’ intent to explore the formation of a joint venture or other arrangement for the purpose of developing and commercializing next-generation 3D printing devices designed to produce an increased… Continue reading Companies to Explore the Next Generation Concepts for 3D Metal Printing Machinery

Metal 3D Printing Everywhere

In addition to the major plastic 3D printer manufacturers appearing at Euromold 2012, quite a few metal 3D printer manufacturers also exhibited. Metal printing might be unfamiliar to many of our readers who focus on more inexpensive plastic machines.    Metal-capable machines are typically quite expensive and are varied in features and abilities. At Euromold… Continue reading Metal 3D Printing Everywhere

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Running Out of 3D Printing Companies to Invest In?

The big two stock-based 3D printing companies are of course, 3D Systems and Stratasys/Objet, now known as merely Stratasys. We’ve covered their massive stock price increases over the past few years and investors have been buying because of that rise.    It seems that investors now want even more. An article on Seeking Alpha investigates… Continue reading Running Out of 3D Printing Companies to Invest In?

3D Printed Electronics Demonstration

Optomec and Stratasys are set to demonstrate their hybrid technology that permits a type of 3D printed electronics. We’ve written about this before, but now they intend on demonstrating the process to the public.     The process does not involve a mutant plastic-and-metal 3D printer. Instead it simply is a way for the two companies… Continue reading 3D Printed Electronics Demonstration

High Detailed Stainless Steel Prints at i.Materialise

3D print service i.Materialise now offers “high detailed stainless steel” materials for prints. As you can see in the sample print above, there is indeed a lot of detail visible.   i.Materialise says that the new material is “between silver and titanium”. In other words, it’s shiny but still strong.    The detail is such… Continue reading High Detailed Stainless Steel Prints at i.Materialise

3D Printing Titanium Bike Parts

There’s a detailed story on Road.cc describing the process of producing a metal dropout bike part using DMLS – Direct Metal Laser Sintering.    Producing bike parts is much like any other product; prototypes must be tested and final versions become mass produced. The problem is that producing prototypes has been time consuming and wasteful… Continue reading 3D Printing Titanium Bike Parts

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NASA Testing 3D Printers For Space Use

NASA is taking their Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF3) technology to the next level, according to a report in The Daily Mail.    EBF3 is a type of 3D printing that uses a high-power electron beam to instantaneously melt metallic wire. The fluid metal is then positioned incrementally to build up arbitrary solid metal objects.… Continue reading NASA Testing 3D Printers For Space Use

Bronzed by i.Materialise

i.Materialise, one of the popular online 3D print services, now offers an experimental Bronze 3D printing capability.    This isn’t bronze plating – it seems to be solid bronze. However, during this experimental phase they limit the size of your bronze prints to 5 x 5 x 5 cm. We think that’s quite appropriate as… Continue reading Bronzed by i.Materialise

EOS Teams Up For Metal 3D Printing

3D printer manufacturer EOS has signed an agreement with Cookson Precious Metals to jointly develop a variety of applications related to metal 3D printing. According to the press release, “Under this agreement, both companies will introduce and further develop precious metal-based applications to the jewelry and watch industry”.    But what does this mean, exactly?… Continue reading EOS Teams Up For Metal 3D Printing

A 3D Printed Jaw

This was bound to happen: a person receives a transplant of a major body part made specifically for them by 3D printing technology.    In this case the body part was the lower jaw of an 83 year old woman from Europe, which had become infected and required removal. 3D scanning techniques captured the precise… Continue reading A 3D Printed Jaw

i.Materialise Glitters with Gold and Silver

3D print service i.Materialise now offers printing in Gold and Silver metals. They’re not the first service to offer this ability, but it’s wonderful to see another golden service.    Specifics: In addition to the sterling silver, there are three colors of 14 kt gold offered, bright yellow, reddish tinge and white gold available. Prints… Continue reading i.Materialise Glitters with Gold and Silver

More Metal Printing Experiments

The RepRap team continue to develop methods of printing electrical conductors. If they succeed, it would be possible for future 3D printers to print objects that include (at least at first) simple electronic circuits embedded directly in their shapes. One can imagine a wide variety of LED lamps or switchboxes emerging quickly once this tech… Continue reading More Metal Printing Experiments

3D Printed Curvilinear Antennae

Researchers at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at Illinois have achieved something never before accomplished: printing an electronic antenna onto a curved surface. Why would you want to do this? According to electrical and computer engineering professor Jennifer T. Bernhard:    These antennas are electrically small relative to a wavelength (typically a twelfth of… Continue reading 3D Printed Curvilinear Antennae

Laser Engineered Net Shaping

Printing metal? There are several ways to do this, mostly involving mixing fine metal powder with a sticky medium, then firing it to fuse the metal together and burn of the sticky stuff. But now we’ve run across a completely different way to print metal.    Optomec’s LENS technology (Laser Engineered Net Shaping) focuses a… Continue reading Laser Engineered Net Shaping

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Arcam Electron Beam Melting

We’re accustomed to examining home 3D printers or consumer 3D print services, but we’re also fascinated by the larger commercial species. An interesting 3D print approach is employed by Arcan, a Swedish manufacturer of Electron Beam Melting printers. Yes, they use “powerful electron beams” (up to 3000W) to melt metal powered to gradually form complete… Continue reading Arcam Electron Beam Melting

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i.Materialise Metalises

“Clank” is a sound you’ll be hearing more often at i.Materialise in the future after this week’s announcement of their new Titanium 3D printing process. No kidding – you can now order a Titanium Whistle!     This very advanced process seems unique to i.Materialise, and involves a powder based process. Powedered titanium metal is laid… Continue reading i.Materialise Metalises

Metal and Plastic Materials from EOS

It’s press release season at EuroMold, and here we see that laser sintering equipment manufacturer EOS has released some pretty amazing new materials, as you might notice in the image of a laser sintered automobile engine exhaust manifold made in nickel alloy. Here’s the new materials:   A flame-retardant polyamide, PrimePart FR, that is especially… Continue reading Metal and Plastic Materials from EOS

Aluminum Bronze Casting Succeeds

Open3DP’s experimentation with metalcasting molds has paid off: one of their experimental hydroperm molds was used in traditional metalcasting (in this case poured aluminum bronze) at the Port Townsend Foundry and the successful results are apparent in the image above. According to Laura West and Dave Feathers:   The mold was placed in a greensand… Continue reading Aluminum Bronze Casting Succeeds

Metalcasting Breakthrough

Those inventive folks at the University of Washington are at it again. This time they’ve been working on a simple formula for cementenous metalcasting. In other words, material with which you can make an effective mold for molten metal casts. At one point, they were using this recipe:    1000 parts VersaBond 250 parts Maltodextrin 250… Continue reading Metalcasting Breakthrough

Shapeways Goes For Gold. And Bronze.

It’s not exactly the Olympics, but Shapeways can now print in Gold and Bronze finishes thanks to their most recent announcement. They’ve added more finishings one can select for stainless steel prints. In addition to the existing Gold Plate Matte finish, you can now choose from:   Gold Plated Glossy (on the left above) Antique… Continue reading Shapeways Goes For Gold. And Bronze.

Alumide Examples

Joris of Shapeways posted a video showing off several sample 3D prints using Shapeway’s new Alumide material. The semi-metallic material, while less strong than other build materials offered, seems to convey quite a different character to the printed objects. They no longer look and feel like “plain old plastic”.    The video includes several truly… Continue reading Alumide Examples

ProMetal’s Experience

ProMetal is an innovative manufacturing company that uses advanced techniques such as additive manufacturing to get an edge. In a wide-ranging interview and analysis, RapidToday profiles ProMetal and their recent challenges: Identifying the right sales channels to meet the market Enabling customized versions of products Keeping consumer costs low It seems that selling 3D items… Continue reading ProMetal’s Experience

Two Metallic Announcements

In recent days two announcements regarding 3D metal printing have emerged: Shapeways announced a new material and Materialise released new software optimized for metal additive manufacturing. Firsrt, Materialise released the “Magics Metal SG” software package that should make life a little bit easier for 3D designers: Magics Metal SG provides metal AM professionals with a… Continue reading Two Metallic Announcements

Making an Artist’s Living by 3D Printing

There’s a wonderful article by 3D printing artist Bathsheba Grossman over at Say Something, where she describes her journey from student to world-renowned 3D artist. And the best part: She’s now making a living from selling 3D printed art.   But it isn’t easy. She spent ten years after completing school to build up the… Continue reading Making an Artist’s Living by 3D Printing

Sciaky’s EBF3

Following on from our previous posts on the promising EBF3 technique (Electron Beam FreeForm Fabrication), we bumped into a video showing a commercial implementation from Sciaky. The video shows the build process as well as highlighting the key benefits: Drastically reduce material costs Dramatically shorten lead times Slash machining time Save over costly forgings or… Continue reading Sciaky’s EBF3

Printing Steel. At Home!

There’s an interesting discussion underway at the RepRap forums, where the idea of Direct Metal Laser Sintering is being pondered. DMLS involves laser-heating metal (or other material) powder, layer by layer, slowly building up a solid object. This is pretty similar to how many 3D printers work, but the interesting bit is that these guys… Continue reading Printing Steel. At Home!

Glossy 3D Printing?

New developments are afoot in color sheen printing. Recently researchers at  Adobe Systems and Dartmouth college managed to create an inkjet printer capable of producing reflective surfaces in a variety of colors. Their color thermal printer is “versatile enough to print many metallic inks and foils as well as standard inks.”  One issue they’ve encountered… Continue reading Glossy 3D Printing?

The EBF3 Business Case

We wrote a few weeks ago about NASA’s new EBF3 manufacturing process (Electron Beam FreeForm Fabrication), which uses a high-energy electron beam to melt raw metal (typically aluminum) and deposit it on a vacuum-encased rotating platform. Shiny round metal objects soon emerge. Now we learn a bit more about the benefits of EBF3, which originally… Continue reading The EBF3 Business Case