3D printing is undergoing tremendous changes. New frontiers are explored in additive manufacturing that give room for 3D metal printing. In fact, attempts were made to achieve 3D metal printing way back in 1880s. From the fusing of two metals through welding to the printing of 3D metal objects, it is a long journey. Creation of vacuum chambers and electron beams gave room for 3 dimensional metal printing for the first time. In fact, the greatest breakthrough in 3D metal printing happened through the invention and use of the laser beam.
Selective Metal Melting (SLM)
Selective Metal Melting is the new technique that is invented by NASA engineers to facilitate 3D metal printing. It has enabled the production of motor components for rocket which are made of steel. In this process, it became possible to produce complex shapes at the highest levels of accuracy which was earlier limited to traditional methods of fabrication.
Binders which comprise powder metal matrix are used to produce complex shapes so that 3D printing can compete with the highly sophisticated modern manufacturing methods. The binder will help attach each layer so that the final shape will be baked to get the complete 3D metal print.
Pioneering job of Shapeways
Shapeways have done pioneering job in the production of high quality 3D metal prints. The organization has done a tremendous job by developing a process so that objects can be produced in the shortest possible time. In addition to printing that can be accomplished with various kinds of metals, you can also print objects using plastic material. The organization has developed a model so that precious metals like Silver can be used in the 3D metal printing process.
Advantages with 3D metallic prints
A 3D metal printing opens new world of opportunities. The opportunities are wide open for artists, scientists and hobbyists. What cannot be accomplished through traditional systems of manufacturing can be accomplished through 3D metal printing. Now, with a $1000 in your hand, you can produce more out of metal printing than ever before.
Apple phone case
It is possible to use 3D metal printing in innovative ways. If you are forced to purchase an accessory or object that is sold in the market at exorbitant price, you can print the object if you have a 3D printer. This was proven in the case of Apple cases. When customers were forced to shell out lots of money towards the phone case, the same has been accomplished by a creative customer. In fact, Shapeways has helped in this direction and customers were able to benefit from the new idea. To little compromise on the magnetic properties, it became possible to produce a product that is similar in nature to the original product.
In the future, with the advancements in 3D technologies, it is possible to produce high quality 3D prints which will also comply with various properties including thermal, mechanical, magnetic and optical. Laser technology is all set to change the way 3D metal prints will be produced in future.