It looks like all the 3-D printing equipment is plastic. Is there any metal 3-D printing in-house? If not, is anyone interested and would train me if I purchased the metal equipment for the lab? Would need advice on what to get for MakerSpace. R7alph
Right now we’ve got printers for ABS/PLA and Form2 machines that print in resin.
I can’t speak for everything but I think we’re all interested in metal printing, but the equipment is much too expensive for us at the moment. What type of metal printer did you have in mind?
Hi Ralph and welcome. We don’t have metal 3d printers as they run upwards of $50k for the cheap ones. I am tagging @Team_3D_Fab should you wish to start a dialogue.
My understanding of metal printing is that it is a a huge step up from our FDM and resin printers. We had an offer of a SLS printer for free that we turned down due to the power requirements (for the printer itself
as well as the furnace), the expense of metal powers, and the stringent handling/safety requirements for dealing with said metal powders.
Other technologies may be easier for the hobbyist grade equipment we utilize in 3D fab, however they tend to be hybrids of metal and FDM.
EDIT: I mis-remembered the specifics. The Sinterit Lisa is a SLS-esque printer but does not print metal thus the powders aren’t quite as hazardous and there’s no furnace, but the power requirements were a bit much for a 120VAC appliance and the powder handling was difficult for hobbyists.
I suppose aluminum would be the first, then others based on cost.
I’m not actually aware of any aluminium printers on the market. Have you researched any printing methods or specific printers you might be interested in?
Could we get anything for $5K or $10K? R7
We actually had a Sinterit Lisa https://www.sinterit.com/ that did metal filled nylon via SLS.
It was a mess, hard to work with and basically no one really used it.
Just thinking about possibilities. I’m an engineer interested in lots of stuff. Maybe too old to get involved in 3-D, but maybe. R7
I remember this donation. Couldn’t think of key words to do a search for.
Using “Sinterit Lisa” brought up some history:
R7 welcome to the world of 3D. Do we have a 3D printer to print metal parts? No, not at this time. The question is, do you need that? Prototyping a part in ABS is quick and relatively inexpensive. You validate size and usability. Then you can move to metal. For example, for highly detailed small pieces, you can resin print in castable resin and do a lost wax casting. Example can be seen on Jewelry table in the two ring boxes. Or, for larger pieces can print in PLA and do a sand casting. That’s from 3D prints to metal. Depending on the project, perhaps you should start in metal and do subtraction in HAAS mill or plasma cut and bend/weld. There’s many ways to get to a metal part around DMS without going directly to a Sintering Printer.
One of the biggest reasons we sold the metal printer that was donated was because of the mess it creates when you print, It used a talc powder consistency metal powder and the dust went everywhere, we would have had that dust covering 3d fab. And this is why were an not pursuing getting most practical metal printers
The Sinterit Lisa wasn’t a metal printer, the powder was PA12 (nylon) it took a long time to print and 50% of the material wasn’t recyclable so it wasn’t the best for the makerspace unless someone could run batches for us. A makerspace member bought the Sinterit Lisa but I haven’t heard if it has been used yet.
A metal 3D Printer would be amazing but both companies I’ve looked into Markforged Metal X https://markforged.com/metal-x/ and Desktop Metal https://www.desktopmetal.com/ are around the $100,000 range for everything. They use an FDM process of metal in plastic binder and use a special kiln to vaporize the plastic and sinter the metal. I recently got a sample bottle opener from Markforged in stainless steel and it’s pretty awesome.
I don’t imagine DMS 1.) ever spending $100,000 on a machine 2.) volunteers doing the maintenance and training for a machine like this, so your only hope is using services like shapeways.com