Apr 25, 2017 | By Tess

Massachusetts-based 3D printer startup Desktop Metal has just launched two new metal 3D printing products, the DM Studio and DM Production systems, which reportedly cover the full product lifecycle, from prototyping to mass production. The company, which has raised significant investments from such companies as Google, BMW, Stratasys, and Lowe’s, says that its new products will disrupt traditional metal manufacturing methods by offering increased production speeds, safety, and quality while reducing costs.

The DM Studio System

Priced as low as $49,900, the Desktop Metal Studio System is being touted as the first office-friendly metal 3D printing system that can be used for rapid prototyping applications. The system includes a 3D printer as well as a microwave-enhanced sintering furnace, making it possible to produce complex and high quality metal 3D printed parts either in an office environment or on the factory floor.

How has Desktop Metal achieved this long-awaited feat? According to the company, its new Studio system uses a proprietary process called Bound Metal Deposition (BMD) which, unlike most other metal 3D printing systems, does not require hazardous metal powders, complex lasers, or potentially dangerous cutting tools. Though not many details about the process’ intricacies have been unveiled, Desktop Metal has likened its BMD process to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, just for metal.

The DM Studio System

With the DM Studio System, the Massachusetts startup says its clients will be able to streamline their workflows, moving effortlessly between CAD programs and 3D printing with the help of cloud-based software. Other features include proprietary Separable Supports that can be removed by hand, and easy-change printer cartridges. In terms of materials, Desktop Metal says its new Studio System is compatible with hundreds of different metal alloys, which will allow manufacturers to prototype parts using the same materials that will be used to produce them.

As mentioned, the DM Studio System is available starting at $49,000 (just the 3D printer), while the complete system (including the printer, debinder, and furnace) costs $120,000. Desktop Metal says its Studio System is available to reserve as of May, and will be ready to ship out in September 2017.

Prototype propeller printed on DM Studio System

Desktop Metal’s second product, the DM Production System, is supposedly the fastest 3D printing system for mass producing high resolution metal parts. Quite a statement, we know, but with over $97 million in investments raised since 2015, we have a fair amount of confidence in Desktop Metal’s first metal 3D printing products.

Unlike the DM Studio System for prototyping, the DM Production System uses a proprietary Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology, which allows for metal parts to be additively manufactured 100 times faster than existing laser-based metal 3D printing systems. The DM Production System will enable manufacturers to significantly reduce their cost-per-part, thus making the technology a suitable alternative to more widely used metal manufacturing techniques, such as casting. The DM Production System will be available to reserve as of May and will begin shipping in early 2018.

Metal 3D printed pump housing part sintered in the Desktop Metal furnace

Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal, said: “Until now, metal 3D printing has failed to meet today’s manufacturing needs due to high costs, slow processes and hazardous materials. With a team of some of the world’s leading experts in materials science, engineering and innovation, Desktop Metal has eliminated these barriers by developing metal 3D printing systems that can safely produce complex, strong metal parts at scale.”

Currently, Desktop Metal holds over 138 filed patents and employs over 100 people, most of whom are notable innovators in the 3D printing and manufacturing industries. With a team that includes materials engineer Jonah Myerberg, MIT professor and 3D printing pioneer Ely Sachs, and MIT professor and leading materials scientist Yet-Ming Chiang, Desktop Metal is one of the most promising metal 3D printing companies out there.

CEO Ric Fulop (right) with materials research scientist Uwe Bauer in Desktop Metal’s R&D lab

Uwe Higgen, Managing Partner of BMW i Ventures, said: “Desktop Metal’s technology offers a new way for the manufacturing industry to be smarter, faster and more cost effective with metal 3D printing. Whether it’s rapid prototyping or output at scale, a solution for printing metal parts that is competitive to the traditional manufacturing processes is certain to change the face of automotive design and production.”

Don Jones, Caterpillar Global Parts Strategy Manager, added: “By leveraging a portion of 3D printing for metal parts, we will be able to enhance best in class service with lower inventory investment. We are excited to evaluate the Desktop Metal suite of products, which will allow us to print metal parts at high speed and minimal post processing and environmental constraints closer to our customers, reducing the need to expedite ship critical parts from across the globe.”

Could Desktop Metal’s metal 3D printing product be what the manufacturing industries have been waiting for? We can’t wait to see.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Eden wrote at 4/27/2017 11:50:03 PM:

It will be the same as the coming Markforged Metal X, but ata much lower price.

DLG wrote at 4/26/2017 12:06:01 PM:

I'm also a bit surprised.. i expected something totally different. The cheaper version reminds me of the already available metallic powder FDM filament, but then with an added processing step to degenerate the polymers. The technique is still leaning on metal powder, and therefore still pretty expensive compared to raw materials, right? The workings of the production machine is also unclear to me. An article on fabbaloo stated that its a binder jetting machine, and that a printhead arm deposits powder, binder and support material. Its the support material that makes me uncertain about the process, because it implicates that it doesn't follow the powder bed method?

I.AM.Magic wrote at 4/26/2017 7:37:11 AM:

Still don't quite get the technology. Is it going to inkjet metal "powder" and then you'll have to sinter the part? If so, seems like you'll have a lot of porosity, low accuracy, limited choice of material. anyone?

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