Unlike most other 3D printers that use a plastic filament or a powder as material to build a part, the i-AM 3D, a prototype metal ink 3D printer, uses liquid ink as material that is deposited with an inkjet print head according to the design. The ink is then cured (sintered) by means of a laser that is guided by galvometer scanners.
A team of mechanical technician, precious metal expert, systems engineer and designers in Pretoria, South Africa want to find new and more cost effective processes to manufacture objects. Their 3D printer will be a table top model with dimensions 600 x 400 x 480mm.
Rendered image of what the final product will look like | Credit: George Kriel
According to the team, up to now most of the hardware, electronics and software of the machine is done, except laser and Galvo scanner which need to purchase separately. And they have now "three precious metal inks (gold, palladium and platinum) for the application process. (patent pending) More inks to follow, Titanium, Aluminum and alloys thereof."
George Kriel says while all other 3D metal printers (powder bed) requires a lot of extra material to start the printing process, their concept and printer would only need the amount of material that is needed to make the part and between 2 and 3 % extra.
The project is currently launched on indiegogo for raising funding to to finish the prototype machine. Check more info here.
Posted in 3D Printers
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firstname.lastname@example.org wrote at 9/18/2013 7:57:15 AM:
I want to buy your printer.
Lorenzo Ancilli wrote at 8/19/2013 5:58:09 PM:
There's no internet site, no samples, no images, no videos (apart from the lazy one shown on indiegogo) no documentation and most of all there's no perspective for founders. I recon they should sort themselves out and re-post the project when it's more than just a good thought...
michaelc wrote at 7/24/2013 4:43:37 PM:
The fact that the video shows little and is shot vertically makes me skeptical of how smart these guys are.
Ben wrote at 7/22/2013 6:47:03 PM:
Lol. I've seen a LOT more "help us finish our prototype" KS pop up recently where a group of researchers that has not been able to get funding any other way, offering names on plaques as rewards in labs that will never be seen. Why not use an existing 3d printer and replace the print head to get a proof of concept??? Too much stinks about this project as much as I'd love to get my hands on a metal printer, this is not the project to get us there.
jd90 wrote at 7/20/2013 2:06:46 AM:
Vertical video, nope, not watching.
Proteus wrote at 7/20/2013 1:35:24 AM:
Excellent idea, but at $0 so far I doubt it will go far....
Malx wrote at 7/19/2013 9:53:58 PM:
Sure, a interesting project but no way I would contribute money on such loose grounds. They need to show a lot more than a moving machine without working head and a 3d-rendering. You can't come and say "I have a new technology, patent pending so not much details, please fund my project". No big investors would go for that and so should no crowdfunding neither.
abowden wrote at 7/19/2013 6:01:03 PM:
I think their product might be okay, but it's kinda ambiguous at this point how the quality of the parts it prints will be. Their kick starter rewards suck ass, though. maybe they should include some tiers where you get the actual machine, like normal human beings, who actually want their project funded.