Nov 10, 2016 | By Alec

From time to time, we all dream of bringing the manufacturing power of metal 3D printing to our desktops – or even to our workshops or design businesses. Unfortunately, that technology is still exclusively available to multinational corporations, with metal 3D printers being room-filling machines that quickly cost as much as a house. Far beyond the financial reach of small or even medium-sized businesses, let alone regular hobbyists like you and me.

But even that is changing. German industrial laser technology developers OR Laser is working to bring metal 3D printing to the desktops of designers and developers at small and medium-sized businesses. And while operating metal 3D printers can quickly be a full-time job, they have also purposefully designed this ORLAS Creator 3D printer to be as accessible and easy to maintain as an FDM 3D printer, making it possible to optimally benefit from its iterative desktop power. While metal 3D printing is thus not quite accessible for home users yet, the ORLAS Creator 3D printer represents a huge step in that direction by effectively scaling down metal 3D printing systems.

It is also the first time that OR Laser is stepping into the 3D printing industry. A relatively young company founded in 1997, the German engineers provide laser solutions (especially laser processing and laser deposit welding platforms) to a wide range of clients. This ORLAS Creator 3D printer has been under development for the past three years, but its German developers have been hinting that the machine is now finally ready for prime time. And that moment will arrive next week, as both the metal 3D printer and its manufacturing ecosystem will be unveiled at formnext 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany (to be held from 15 to 18 November).

Of course many 3D printers unveiled at these type of events are prototypes or even development concepts, but the German engineers from OR Laser have assured us that they will be showcasing a fully working platform that is ready for its debut and large volume production. To underline this, the ORLAS Creator will also be actively 3D printing metal parts on the show floor. Shipping itself is expected to begin in early 2017, with the production strategy already being in place.

So what brought OR Laser to 3D printing? After some initial explorations, they quickly became focused on making metal AM platforms more accessible to a wide range of professional users beyond the automotive and aerospace industries. “Considerable market research revealed that metal AM had vast potential for SMEs, particularly in industries like jewelry, dentistry and medical sectors, as well as for smaller engineering firms and laboratories,” the German engineers revealed. “Until now, this size of organization has been priced out of the metal AM market with no commercially viable options available to them.”

As such, the ORLAS Creator is fully focused on small and medium organizations and research labs, and is a very contained hardware platform that should also make metal 3D printing more accessible than ever before. “An innovative blade design ensures smooth operation and increased build speeds that produce parts up to 30% faster,” they say. “The OR Laser also utilizes a cartridge materials handling system, making it safe to operate in smaller facilities.” These cartridges will initially be supplied by OR Laser, but the company is also keen to develop an open material system to optimize material diversity.

The 3D printer is further supported by an operating ecosystem, complete with 3D printing software and complete interface integration to ensure that the ORLAS Creator doesn’t bring hidden software costs to the table. While no actual price tag has been revealed yet, OR Laser did argue that their new 3D printer is “smarter, more intuitive, faster, and more cost-effective than comparable systems currently available on the market.”



Posted in 3D Printer



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formnext visitor wrote at 11/18/2016 9:08:27 PM:

It is over 100k Euros. I was at the show. And they are taking pre orders, but they had no proper samples.. all the samples looked very prototype stage...

JC wrote at 11/10/2016 7:07:42 PM:

If it is under $15,000.00 it's MINE. Quite unlikely. I guess it will likely be anywhere from $35,000.00 to $80,000.00.

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