GE reveals 3D Printer for one meter metal objects and system will scale to larger sizes

GE revealed the beta version of the world’s largest 3D printer for metals, which uses a laser and a powder bed to make parts. It is capable of printing parts as large as 1 meter in diameter directly from a computer file by fusing together thin layers of metal powder with a 1-kilowatt laser. The machine has the potential to build even bigger parts, due to the nature of the scalable technology. Customers are already requesting machines with build volumes of more than 1 meter cubed.

GE used the beta machine to print a jet engine combustor liner.

GE uses proprietary technology to control powder dosing, reducing powder consumption by 69 percent compared to traditional machines “on its first attempt.” The machine will also print faster than today’s machines. GE can configure the design and allows customers to add more lasers.

The new printer will also take advantage of Predix, GE’s software platform for the industrial internet, to monitor the printing process and also the health of the machine. Concept Laser’s new M2 printers already come with data analytics using Predix to monitor machine utilization and production and look for potential problems before they occur.

Several GE businesses are already using additive manufacturing to make and develop new products. GE Aviation is printing fuel nozzles for the LEAP family of jet engines. The company is also building the Advanced Turboprop, the first commercial aircraft engine in history with a large portion of components made by additive manufacturing methods, which include 3D printing. The designers reduced 855 separate parts down to just 12. As a result, more than a third of the engine is 3D printed. GE Healthcare, GE Power and the oil- and gas-field services company Baker Hughes are also using the technology.

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Autodesk Reveals Open-Source 3D Printer and Software Platform

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by SPAR Point Group staff | May 20, 2014

Last week during its earnings call, Autodesk made two big announcements. The first was for an open-software 3D printing platform named Spark that is freely licensable by hardware manufacturers or other interested parties. The second announcement was for Autodesk’s first 3D printer. The printer is intended to “a reference implementation” for Spark. 

On In the Fold, an Autodesk blog, President and CEO Carl Bass explained that the design of the printer “will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation. The printer will be able to use a broad range of materials, made by us and by others, and we look forward to lots of exploration into new materials.”

Autodesk hasn’t released any pricing information yet, but Bass says that Spark and the 3D printer will be available within the year. For more information on how Autodesk hopes these products will help jumpstart the 3D printing industry (or to sign up and indicate interest in using Spark), see Bass’ blog post here.

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