Welcome to the wonderful world of 3D Metal Printing!
As a newcomer, you will be bombarded by technical terms and acronyms! You will soon see though, that at it's core, the idea of 3D Metal Printing is really a simple one!
Imagine having the ability to grow complex parts in metal. No tooling, no milling, no machining - no drawbacks.
"3D Metal Printing" by definition is any method through which a real 'thing' is grown from the ground up using layers of metal. The Metalbot projects has focused in on 'selective laser sintering' as the most practical way forward.
How does it work?
The process begins on a computer. You, or someone from the other side of the globe, designs a 3D object using a computer program. After the object has been designed, the program virtually slices the object into many very thin layers. Each slice is a cross section of the object.
Next, the printing platform inside the machine moves down a fraction of a millimeter (typically less than 100um). The powder spreader then pushes a layer of very, very fine metal powder over the platform. This platform is directly positioned underneath a high energy laser.
the computer feeds the first slice or 'cross section' of the virtual object into the printer. A laser beam dances accross the powder melting the cross section into the powder. The computer then feeds in another cross section, the build area moves down again and the process repeats.
This will happen many hundreds of times until the 'thing' has been printed.
So what is Metalbot doing?
We is a community of people who want the next revolution in making. A large part of this will be 3D Metal Printing. 3D printers have made a remarkable impact on the maker world. The main issue has always been strength of the printed parts. For durable hardware that can be used even in industrial applications the only solution is metals. Currently the only machines that can print in metal are extremely expensive commercial systems. Our mission is simple... we want to design a 3D Metal printer that is accessible to everyone.
Where's the Catch?
Printing in metal is a big challenge. Some of the parts used in the printers are very expensive and hazardous. However, we think that it is possible to reduce both the cost and dangers of 3D Metal Printers by using clever design.