3D printing has so far been limited to plastics, but regular visitors to Springwise will have recently read about the DIWire, a machine that bends metal wire according to digital designs. Now aiming to make desktop 3D metal printing a reality, Vader Systems is developing a device which uses molten aluminum in place of plastic.
Demonstrating its prototype at the Maker Faire New York 2013, the machine features and small, onboard furnace that heats the metal until it is liquid. The printer then uses magnetism — either natural or electrically induced — to draw the material out onto the printer bed. When a digital file is sent to the Vader, its prints out tiny blobs of metal in the desired location in much the same way as an inkjet printer does with ink on paper. It also works as quickly as consumer inkjets, although as with plastic 3D printers it is able to layer the material additively to create 3D structures out of metal with a maximum build volume of 250mm cubed.
According to reports, the father-and-son team of Vader Systems hopes to continue developing the machine to be able to bring the final product to the market for around USD 10,000 sometime in 2014. Are there other materials that could get the 3D printing treatment?
Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise