3D printing now available with metalInnovation means exceeding the limits, it means each company, manufacturer or developer demonstrating that technology can do incredible things that we have not yet imagined or that we just see as very “futuristic” for the simple fact of it being featured in a TV series or movie from many years back up till the ones of this present day, However there are patents already in development aimed to maximize technologys‘ potential ; Holograms, virtual environments and ships with outstanding features were seen a few years ago as something impossible to achieve but many people do not know that these prototypes had already been in development for years.

When we speak of technology going far beyond we are hinting to the fact that many countries or group of people have not desired to take the bold step to know and experience real technology; drones that help to deliver medicines, virtual assistants that organize all our tasks, intelligent clothing that take our pulse or even wrist watches that can measure our blood pressure. There are many prototypes that currently exist for sale and which also have companies dedicated to them and it’s not a surprise, there will always be negotiations with new teams of electronic engineers to specialize on something and become one of the best in the market place, and the best thing would be to begin with current projects that are known today in the present era of technology.

3D Metal Printer

Germany is one of the countries that began to use metal as a material for 3D printers but at a low cost, the people responsible for this development are the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.It is not the first 3D printer to accept metal as a material for printing newly designed pieces but it is the first low cost 3D printer that uses metal, a common printer in large companies that use high cost materials can cost more than 30,000 Euros without including the metal which is going to be used to create the pieces, that is to say, this is a great advancement for the 3D printers.

The invention of 3D printers was great news in the technology market, not only for creating pieces of recyclable material but also for the fact that you could use it to create casts for custom built arms, build a completely customizable piece or create a customized body part. They were of great help and they continue to be but now the way to create this type of pieces also has been revolutionized and many manufacturers keep betting on this technology, so much that they themselves want to create their own materials and make the pieces that are created by the 3D printers stronger.

Direct metal laser sintering

This development was brought about in conjunction with the Aachen Technological University, together they deduced a technique very similar to that of conventional 3D printers called SLS (Selective Sintering by Laser) which uses plastic, ceramic or glass powder as a base. this changes with DMLS which uses metal powder as a base. The machines that handle DMLS usually have a higher cost because they handle materials of steel, aluminum, cobalt and even titanium. Handling these types of materials is what makes a 3D printer expensive, even 3D printers that still use SLS are expensive.

This development has been carried out in order to lower the cost of printing metal parts and make it more accessible to companies and people who are dedicated to developing patents or templates using 3D printers. Let’s recall that a 3D printer that handles metal can cost more than 100,000 Euros, however with this new development of from Fraunhofer Institute and the Technological University of Aachen we will soon have available in the market printers handling DMLS at a very affordable cost, that Is the idea behind this development mainly founded in Germany.

Great Alternatives

Germany is not the only country that is committed to 3D printing, it is one of the countries that most wants to adopt all of this technology but there are companies that have already taken it to another level; SLM Solutions, Concept Laser and 3D Systems. One of the companies that recently launched a metal-injection 3D printer was XJet, an Israeli company that started distributing its 3D printer which has the possibility of printing using liquid metal; They have made use of a technology that reduces material costs and time of printing without affecting the quality of the result.

3D printers are commonly used in automotive, medical and aerospace companies to develop spare parts and pieces with accurate measurements using the material they desire. These are the industries that would pay as much as 100,000 Euros for a high performance 3D printer with incomparable results, nevertheless 3D printers are still in full development and only few companies have a fully-developed 3D printer that do not give errors, But like everything in technology, it is being adjusted and revised daily so that there will be no problems with future projects. One of the first printers with metal injection was announced in Germany by ESO with its first delivery the EOSINT M270 and M280.

Estudiante de Ingeniería de Sistemas en el Instituto Universitario Politécnico Santiago Mariño en Venezuela. Redactor freelance para VOFEEL international desde 2016. Amante de la música clásica y de la tecnología. [English]: System engineering student at Santiago Mariño University. Freelancer writer for Vofeel since 2016. Classical music and technology lover.

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