Jun 28, 2017 | By Tess

While a number of metal 3D printers are currently on the market, many are only built to print using one type of metal material, which can be limiting for certain applications. Reportedly, however, a team of Russian researchers has developed a 3D printing technology capable of printing in three metals.

The 3D printer, set to be unveiled in early 2018, is being developed through the Laboratory for Additive Technologies and Materials Design, a collaborative initiative between the Foundation for Advanced Studies (FAS), the Ministry of Education and Science, Lobachevsky University of Nizhni Novgorod, and the UNN Physics and Technology Research Institute.

So far, not much information has been divulged about the three-metal 3D printer, so we will retain some healthy skepticism about the project until we can see it more concretely. Still, if such a technology is unveiled in 2018, it could be game-changing.

Vladimir Chuvildeyev, Head of the the additive technologies laboratory and director of the UNN Physics and Technology Research Institute (PTRI), spoke about the new 3D printer at the Technoprom-2017 tech development forum, saying that the machine already exists, is functional, and that software is being developed for it.

“We will be able to produce 3D printers for different tasks, in particular for manufacturing medical prosthetic devices," Chuvildeyev said. "At the moment, there are no other machines in the world that can print with several powders. In Germany, the work in this direction began in 2016. We have at least a year’s lead."

In fact, the idea for the multi-powder 3D printing technology was born about five years ago by a group of UNN PTRI researchers, who believed that being able to print in multiple metal materials would enable printed products to have more exact and customized physical and mechanical properties.

“There was a plan to create a multi-powder 3D printer, which will allow us to get the desired composition at each 'point' of the product,” said the Foundation for Advanced Studies, an organization founded in 2012 that has been likened to the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Russia’s first domestic metal 3D printing system was unveiled in 2016 by Russian State Corporation Rosatom, and the country has since developed an electron beam metal 3D printer capable of printing metal objects and parts in space. If all these claims are to be believed (Russia is after all known for its propagandistic media), the country is certainly rocketing to the forefront of metal 3D printing.

 

 

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CassidyS wrote at 6/28/2017 3:58:23 PM:

Actually, multi-metal powder printing has been developed a decade ago (2006), it just wasn't commercialized. Here they printed both copper and iron at the same time, but it could be scaled to include many different metals. See Material Issues of the Metal Printing Process, MPP 197 K. Boivie, R. Karlsen and C. Van der Eijk at the 2006 Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium - An Additive Manufacturing Conference http://sffsymposium.engr.utexas.edu/Manuscripts/2006/2006-19-Boivie.pdf

Rick T wrote at 6/28/2017 3:54:36 PM:

I would not call it a game changer since multi-metal printing has been around for quite a while. There are several Laser Metal Deposition type machines that spray metal powders to a surface intersected by a laser. we even create Functionally Graded Materials (FGM) as a method for changing properties within a part itself.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 6/28/2017 3:36:59 PM:

wut ? FGM metallic parts have been around for more than 5 years.



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