Nov 1, 2016 | By Nick

XJet is set to demonstrate its breakthrough metal 3D printer next month at the formnext 2016 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. The new system uses a direct metal inkjet system, a world first, and could cut the cost and time required for advanced metal printing. There’s no word on the price yet, beyond the fact that it should be competitive with other metal printers.

The large-format XJet printer promises high-quality parts and unprecedented levels of detail with a swift print time. Dispensing with powders and lasers, the system instead uses a fluid metal ink that contains metal nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are jetted on to the build tray and the layers build up in the conventional way.

The fluid then evaporates thanks to the high temperature inside the build chamber, leaving a solid metal part behind that is almost indistinguishable from a cast metal part in terms of shear, tensile strength and other mechanical properties. It’s a cleaner process than SLS printing, which uses a laser to bond powder granules.

In theory, the new 3D printer should also provide greater consistency in the metal structure, and XJet claims this process offers far better details, dispersion, and freedom when it comes to the design. Even with advanced metal printers, designers are sometimes limited and forced to create components in multiple pieces. Complex prints can also require support structures that have to be removed after the fact, which adds to post-production time and overall costs.

This inkjet approach could change all of the above problems, and will also allow users to create thinner walls and finer details. Support structures, meanwhile, will be created from a different material, making it a simple matter of separating the two distinct materials afterwards. The machine could convince companies to take a chance on 3D printing for low-volume runs of complex metal products or even advanced prototypes.

“We are currently witnessing how additive manufacturing is disrupting entire business models,” said Yair Shamir, Chairman of XJet. “Even more so with XJet’s NanoParticle Jetting technology, the manufacturing industry is going to make giant leaps ahead, giving businesses a real competitive edge. Its breakthrough technology produces complex geometries with intricate details, and with perfect metallurgy. This is unprecedented. It is exciting to be part of the XJet journey and to usher in this revolutionary approach in Additive Manufacturing.”

The new XJet machine could take rapid prototyping to a whole new level, and could also help bring additive manufacturing to the production line for end-use part production. Earlier in the year, XJet raised $25 million in funding, some of which came from the Autodesk Spark Investment Fund, to bring the new concept to market. The company has already displayed the sizeable printer at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference and RAPID 2016. So far, it has received an enthusiastic response.

“We look forward to presenting our metal ink-jet system at formnext, the leading international event for additive manufacturing technologies,” said Hanan Gothait, CEO and founder of XJet.  “We are extremely proud of our NanoParticle Jetting technology, which is a landmark in the additive manufacturing industry. It is the culmination of years of research in our labs, with over 50 registered patents. Our technology overcomes many of the current challenges that Additive Manufacturing has faced until now, which will greatly benefit many industries.”

The new 3D printer is the culmination of ten years hard work. If the industry takes to its inkjet approach, it could prove to be a disruptive tool to compete with other high-profile printers.



Posted in 3D Printer



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SlowBro wrote at 11/28/2016 4:38:06 AM:

Ready for my 3D-printed rifle.

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