New Affordable Desktop 3D Printer for Metal now in the Market
We have talked extensively about the benefits of 3D printers, and how they are able to bravely go where no other manufacturing methods are able to go. One of those benefits includes the ability to create intricate patterns that would be very hard to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods.
This is especially true for metal, where 3D printing makes it possible to make artistic solid models with the 3D printers.The drawback to this is the exorbitant cost of the 3D printers capable of printing metals. This limitation means that artisans, and others who work with metals in a small scale manner, such as jewelers, have to go through those companies who actually have the 3D printers capable of printing metals.
An example is Shapeways. Most of the usual 3D desktop printers in the market can print out plastics in different variations, but not metals. A company out in Pueblo, Colo., plans to introduce the Mini Metal Maker into the 3D market, via an Indiegogo campaign. The Mini Metal Maker actually prints metal clay, a material that is made up of metal flakes mixed with water and a binder.
Just like the plastic filament used in creating 3D objects, the metal clay is melted and extruded out of a nozzle, till the 3d object is created.After the creation of the 3D object, the material must be fired in a kiln to remove the water and binder, leaving the metal behind. MakerBot’s replicator prints at a resolution of 100 microns, a far cry from the paltry 500 microns offered by the Mini Metal Maker, but it is still early days yet, and the company plans on further refinement before full production.Their target market for now is the artisan crowd, including 3D hobbyists.
The Metal Mini Maker Costs $750 for the machine alone, and $1,000 for an assembled one that includes the clay.