Metalbot is your no.1 open source 3D Metal printing community...
We open source the technology that holds the keys to our future.
Our goal is to design and construct an affordable 3D Printer that can make parts as strong as forged metal. From your computer into the real world. This breakthrough will start the home manufacturing revolution in an incredibly big way!
Imagine being able to make aerospace quality parts in pure titanium for the cost of powder...
Check out Masterblaster's laser diode successfully melt aluminum powder at 25W power! > 
To navigate please look at the categories page!
Drop by the forum and introduce yourself!
The Metalbot forum is a very important part of the site. If you have an idea, why not post it in the forum?
Below are the guidelines:
- 1 - Simple: Remove the useless parts! Use clever design.
- 2 - Affordable: Commercial Metal Printer are only accessible to large corporations. This is because they are incredibly expensive. A major goal is to find a way to do this without breaking the bank!
- 3 - Safe: There are many hazards to deal with while developing Metalbot. Please see our Safety section. Any developments to the Metalbot should be safe.
- 4 - Open: Giving means receiving! Metalbot is open source. We depend on we to contribute, So whenever possible open source information and post it online. You can get started now by joining the forum or editing the wiki!
- 5 - Civil: Spamming, Trolling, vandalizing, Rudeness, Bad behavior, foul language etc will not be tolerated. This is a community where people help each other. Please see our full site policies.
The process we think holds the most promise for the Metalbot project is the "Direct Metal Laser Sintering process". This is due to two reasons:
- It is relatively simple
- It allows us to print unlimited geometries
However... this is not the only process being researched at the moment. Below are some methods up for consideration:
|Selective Laser Sintering|
|Electron Beam Melting|
|Metal Clay Printing|
There are many challenges that need to be overcome for us to reach our final goal. For example:
High power lasers cost a lot of money. One of our biggest challenges is to find the most affordable lasers that can still do the job - melt metal powders.
Still, a lot has been overcome. Laser scanners are widely used for engraving, argon gas is easily accessible because it is used for welding etc...
Our job is to bring all these sub systems together into one Metal Printer. The key is to make the design user friendly. The emphasis is on simplicity of design. There is still a mountain of research and documentation that needs to be carried out on 3D Metal Printing, so feel free to add and edit!
All suggestions are welcome in the suggestion forum!
The Metalbot Project
All the information, designs and plans for the Metalbot 3D printing project are below.
There is a lot of information within to consider ranging from how to drive a laser diode through to how to get an even powder layer.
The project is split up into four main categories, laser, powder, electronics and frame.
This category deals with all things laser!
Here you can find information on how to spread fine layers of powder, powder dispensers, material recycling and much more.
This section handles the software and circuitry we need to drive the lasers, motors and other equipment.
Here you can find all the details for the Metalbot gas proof frame and how to mount the different subsystems in the fame itself.
Track the progress or view previous versions of Metalbot here...
Take a look at Projects that people are working on! If you want a projects section of your own, just get in contact with an admin!
By breaking the larger problem down into smaller chunks we can deal with one issue at a time. Our goal is to put all of these sub systems together into one user friendly machine! Broadly speaking, direct metal laser sintering systems have four main sub systems. Goals that are specific to each subsection need to be first defined and then met:
Each subsystem has it's own unique challenges and goals. These four subsystems can be further broken down into micro systems. Please visit the goals page for more information...
Take a look at the challenges we face to get this project off the ground over on the Challenges page...
Selective laser sintering technology allows us to work with a wide range of Materials. From the toughest aerospace alloys to soft polymers or even ceramics. If it is powdered you can print it! One of our main goals is to document data on sintering different materials for example...
- What laser powers are required to fuse one layer of a certain material to another?
- What effects do different wavelengths have on the material in question?
The word "material" refers to a vast range of different molecular make-ups and melting/sintering behavior.
Multimaterial printing is also being actively researched! One of the greater challenges that we face is printing in plastic and metal at the same time. This, however, will open up the possibility of 3D printed electronics!
Please visit our materials forum!
How you can help
There is a phenomenal amount of work between now and a fully functioning Metalbot. We are looking for experts in machining, physics, programming, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and more! Still, the Metalbot community is largely made up of enthusiasts who acquire a lot of their skills and knowledge on the build! There are certainly no prerequisite requirements needed in order to get started. If you think you can improve or solve a certain problem be active and publish your ideas!
There are many other ways you can get involved for example forum management, wiki editing, making website suggestions and telling other people about us! Please look at how you can help us with this side of things here: Website to do...