Markforged, a startup manufacturer of metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, announced earlier this month what it calls the only reliable, affordable, and safe way to 3D print copper. For the company’s Metal X system — a patented platform that rapidly prints 3D metal — pure copper has been added as the latest metal to join its lineup of materials that include aerospace superalloys like Inconel 625, 17-4 PH stainless steel, H13 tool steel, D2 tool steel, and A2 tool steel.
Founded in 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts, Markforged said 3D printing copper parts on-demand will drive new manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies for customers — leading to reduced lead times and part costs, as well as eliminating the need for costly inventory. Now with copper capabilities, the company said using the Metal X provides an easy and fast way to produce geometrically complex copper with high electrical and thermal conductivity.
A feature in the March 2016 company magazine for Kongsberg Gruppen – one of Norway’s oldest and largest companies – delves into the future of 3D printing within the multi- faceted technology manufacturer.
The article focusses on the in- house 3D printing by the R&D team at Kongsberg Maritime. Using the now defunct 3D Systems Cube Pro, Kongsberg fit and form prototypes. In the article, Alf Pettersen, Technical Manager at Kongsberg Aerostructures reveals a reluctance to invest in a more industrial solution.
“3D printing has come a long way in terms of medical devices and prototypes, but mass production is still a problem. This is because of challenges relating to repetition and quality. It is not good enough in so many areas, particularly in the aviation industry, where there are extremely strict requirements governing quality and the qualification of methods.”
A metallurgist shares insights on choosing the ideal metals for 3D metal manufacturing and ensuring quality production.
In this article, a brief introduction to commonly used metal and alloy powders for additive manufacturing (AM) is given. In addition, the reader will gain a basic understanding of metal structure, metallurgy, properties, and state-of-the-art in-process quality control measures used to reliably influence the performance of a part in service. For a more rigorous study of the AM process, structure, and properties of metallic components, the reader is referred to a recent review article1 and the comprehensive overview book on the fundamental elements and processes used to 3D print metal.
3D Hubs’ Q2 report shows what 3D printing processes and materials are being used and where.
In our previous coverage of 3D Hubs’ Digital Manufacturing Trends Q2/2018 report, we talked about the top-ranked 3D printers. However, the company kept tabs on more than just printers. By tracking all data on its platform, 3D Hubs has helped shine a light on the state of 3D printing itself. While powder bed technology is poised to grow, currently extruding standard black PLA is dominating this one online platform.
In an attempt to mitigate the environmental impact of 3D printing, several organizations have taken to creating recycled filament, made not only from failed prints but from water bottles and other garbage. Inexpensive filament extruders are also available to allow makers to make their own filament from recyclable materials. Not only does recycled filament help the environment, but it also helps 3D printer users to save money and be more self-sufficient, making the technology more viable in remote communities.
3D printing further reduces the cost of labor and machines for carbon fibre parts.
With a growing demand for strong and lighter parts at an affordable cost, manufacturers look to carbon fiber. Unfortunately, the process takes time, manual labor, and might experience variations from part to part. There is a demand for automating carbon fiber processes. 3D printing has integrated carbon fiber, but like the traditional process, it took time and while it reduced cost by minimizing manual labor that was offset but expensive machines. Stratasys previewed at RAPID 2018 a new carbon fiber printer that reduces the barrier with an industrial quality system that is being offered at $70,000 USD. The 3D printer, Fortus 380 CFE, began shipping last week.
Using x-ray micro-computed tomography and 3D imaging analysis, very low concentrations of foreign particles can be detected in situations where cross contamination is a concern.
Each individual particle is visualised, with their size, brightness and concentration being measured. The partners say their method will lead to powdered materials being safer, cleaner, and able to produce stronger, more reliable components and believe the process will be particularly helpful in the qualification of recycled materials.
A recent series of major developments and events has created a new impetus for 3D printing plastic recycling. 3D printing of recycled plastics has multiple benefits, including lower costs and control over the amount of materials that can be used by 3D printers. Currently, 3D printing filament is produced by melting down virgin plastic pellets and extruding the melted plastic through a circular die which is then rolled up into spools. Printing with pellets or recycled materials is more cost effective and energy efficient than printing with new plastic filaments. In addition, direct printing of plastic pellets eliminates the need for further processing and therefore makes them less expensive.
Plastic has always been one of the leading 3D printer material categories. Now there is an expanding global concern about the amount of plastic product waste and in particular its negative impact on oceans and waterways. Improved pellet 3D printing recycling technology can play an important part in helping solve this environmental problem. 3D printing product developers, engineers, designers and environmentalists working on pellet recycling projects have the opportunity to earn US R&D tax credits.
UK-based Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) is looking closely at an aspect of 3D printing that is critical but all too often swept under the rug in conversation: finishing. Optimization in design, speed and innovation in 3D printers, and strong, high-quality materials are only the beginning of the story of what constitutes a remarkable, useful print. Post-processing has long been heralded as the dirty little secret of the 3D printing world, and it’s easy to overlook what happens after a print job concludes in light of the technological achievements that led to that print job even starting in the first place.
AMT, though, is unafraid to confront post-processing — and its efforts have been rewarded by a receptive industry. Innovate UK awarded AMT as a recipient of a major grant early this year, and that influx of capital was just the jumpstart the company needed to advance its PostPro3D technology.