One thing I asked the Vaders was why no one had previously thought of making a small-sized, less-expensive LMJP machine. "Molten metals are really difficult to work with," Scott told us. "Temperatures can get up to 800°C inside the print head." Molten aluminum is very corrosive, so newer, high-end ceramic materials are needed. Also, Priest and others working in the lab then were using continuous streams, not drop on demand, Zachary said.
Scott Vader (left), chief engineer of Vader Systems, and president Zachary Vader (right) show off their prototype 3D printer for making solid metal, full-production parts, at the 2013 New York Maker Faire. Both are mechanical engineers. (Source: Vader Systems)
Unlike some engineers reinventing 3D printing, the Vaders won't be using Kickstarter because of its $10,000 price limit. Eventually, the later low-end machine might be priced around that figure. The first machine, the commercial-scale Mark 1, will be very similar to the prototype. That machine's build volume is expected to be 250 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm and its resolution 50 microns. "We've demonstrated all of its technologies separately and tested all the subsystems: the motion platform, the head to create droplets, and the electronics," said Scott. "Now we're starting systems testing, and are about one or two months away from making parts, so we don't know yet what the throughput will be."
For funding, they're looking for qualified development beta customers to help get the first few Mark 1 machines built. "We've got four customers now and will probably build 10 Mark 1 machines in 2014," said Scott.
The next step will be building the Mark 2, also a commercial machine, using what the team learned on the Mark 1. The Vaders will price that at somewhere between $20,000 and $100,000. Then comes the lower-cost Mark 3, for professional makers such as small businesses and engineering firms. "We're working on a patent, but a narrow one to give protection to some core ideas that are fundamental and unique," said Scott. "For the most part, the machine will be open source."
jecmontesa, thanks for the details. It's always interesting to me to find out where people were working when they worked with or came across various different technologies, especially in the earl stages. The history of ideas has always fascinated me.
Ann, I was working for Spectron Development Labs, Costa Mesa CA. Small privately held company, 50 employees founded by Chris Busch and Jim Trolinger. Was widely recognized for development of laser based instrumentation for aeronautics, combustion and other applications. SDL was sold in 1988 to Titan Systems of San Diego, a defense technology company. Jim Trolinger went on to found MetroLaser, Irvine CA, where he still is active.
Years ago, we were working on methods for producing streams of droplets with uniform size. This was the beginning of ink jet printing. We used glass nozzles with 50 micron ID and piezo-electric tubes to drive the droplet generation. With the drive set at the resonance frequency, the droplet size was very uniform. We used mostly liquid fuels, but also did make some droplet streams from liquid metals, mercury. Worked beautifully. Nice equipment, Vader!
There are actually a fair amount of body parts that have already been fabricated via 3D printing, but primarily with plastics and not metals. But I'm sure it won't be this way for long and metals will soon be a part of the process as well.
Organisations are working to on making arms thrrough 3D printing . I have read somewhere that one of the organisation have developed a 3d printed metal gun . The total components of the gun were 42 out of which 36 were 3d printed and 6 were purchased however they are not planning to sell the gun but now they are working on developing more 3d printed arms
Yes Elizebeth no doubt there is quite a lot of innovation going on in this 3d printing technology actually it is not a complete or mature technology scientist , engineers are trying to make it more mature by adding / testing the innovations. Few years from now this will definitely be the technology of future.
Stratasys has introduced two 3D printing materials stronger than their predecessors: the second generation of digital ABS for Objet Connex multimaterial 3D printers and FDM Nylon 12, which is designed for the company's Fortus 3D Production Systems.
A spacecraft on its way to Mars is carrying core structures made with carbon-fiber composites. Launched November 18, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is the first designed for exploring and understanding the red planet's upper atmosphere.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.