3D Metal Printing has been beyond reach in most educational settings because it was only available with incredibly expensive and complex systems. But that is changing in 2017. Desktop Metal is bringing 3D printing with metal materials to the desktop at a price that makes sense for education.
3D Metal Printing: Too Expensive and Too Dangerous?
Design and engineering labs are struggling to prepare their students for careers where technologies and materials are changing continually. 3D printing with metal materials holds tremendous promise for the future of design and manufacturing, but million dollar systems utilizing hazardous materials haven’t been a good fit for education. Many institutions have explored metal 3D printing’s possibilities in theory without providing hands-on experience to prepare students to utilize this technology in their careers. It has been challenging to develop a curriculum that is attainable and beneficial for students.
The Desktop Metal Studio System is delivering 3D printing with metal materials using FDM Technology (Fused Deposition Modeling) rather than lasers. This FDM metal printing system used by the Desktop Metal Studio extrudes metal rods. This eliminates the hazardous metal powders used by laser based systems. This evolution in 3D printing with metal materials means that this system is safe to use in a lab or a classroom that doesn’t have a specialized ventilation system. The Studio delivers all of this at a price that is 1/10 the cost of comparable systems.
Prototype and Mass Produce with the Same Alloys as MIM Technology
We designed our systems to use the same MIM (Metal Injection Molding) materials. This opens up an ecosystem of low-cost, high-quality alloys with a mature supply chain and well-studied process controls.
200+ Compatible Alloys
By enabling the use of metal powders from the MIM industry, our systems have access to a wide range of existing materials—from steels and aluminum to superalloys and titanium.
Up to 80% cheaper
Laser-based systems require specially formulated cost-prohibitive metal powders. We use metal powder with a wide particle size distribution, enabling much lower materials costs.
The Printing Process
The Studio prints 3D parts with metal materials using a 4 step process. The unit is self-contained and includes all of the hardware and software that you will need to turn a CAD file into a prototype that your students can hold in their hands.
Step 1: PrepPrepare a digital model.
The Studio includes web-based software that allows you to manage jobs remotely. The system accepts native CAD file formats (not just STL).
Step 2: PrintPrint a green part.
The Studio lays down a green part one layer at a time using an FDM process to heat and extrude metal rods. This produces parts that can be sanded by hand.
Step 3: Debind and Sinter
First, remove a portion of the plastic binder. Then the furnace uses a combination of heating elements and high-powered microwaves to uniformly heat the part to 96-99.8% of its melting point.
Step 4: Post Process
Apply optional finishing methods. There are a variety of options including machining and bead blasting. Remaining supports can be removed by hand.
This system is incredibly easy to use. Visit our product page to find out more about swapping materials out in less than a minute and the simplicity of operating this system in an office environment.
3D Printing has finally arrived for the education market at a price that makes sense and a package that is safe to use in your office or lab.