View Full Version : 3D Metal Printer Startup Survey Request

01-31-2013, 03:14 PM
I've been a lurker on these boards for years now and the knowledge here has been absolutely fantastic in helping me build a small CNC machine. Thanks for all of the discussions and keep up the excellent work!

A few friends of mine in the startup space are looking at designing a new 3D metal printer and are looking for some good industry and consumer feedback. They have a short (2 min) survey on their project launch page at http://unbouncepages.com/project-vulcan/ and they would love your feedback.

On a related note, what do you think will drive the adoption of metal 3D printers and what new industries will be created as adoption increases and prices decrease?

01-31-2013, 03:55 PM
Took the survey for you, however seems like who ever wrote the survey knows little about additive manufacturing.

02-01-2013, 08:48 AM
In what way? Any specifics would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the survey!

02-01-2013, 11:46 AM
Like how the metal powder is fused or glued, if laser rastering speed, finish quality, net part shape tolerances, etc. instead it wireless networking and fluffy stuff that means very little.

02-01-2013, 12:59 PM
Their assumption going in was that they would provide comparable quality to current SLS 3d printers like EOS. I believe some of those details were included in the launch page, but not the survey itself. Thanks for the feedback!!!

02-01-2013, 01:44 PM
Here is my opinion, 3d (additive manufacturing) in metals is going to really reduce a lot of machine operations and foundries in the next 10 years. It going to be the next boom in manufacturing. It will and is reducing build time for molds by probably 90%, and makes mold repair easy and affordable. The down sides right now are equipment cost to some degree, but the big downfall is the cost of the powder, and the sifting of the powder that can be re used. Another problem is reactive materials like aluminum and titanium, both materials should be processed in a class 2 division 2 building and equipment. That's where a lot of cost is involved when building. I see parts being made every day, and it really is amazing technology, but honestly, I'd say 80% of the process is software. Without a good sectioning software that can handle doing support structures and what not, the iron is useless. The motion control side of the machines is really pretty basic.

02-01-2013, 03:08 PM
I'd love to see a stress free printing technology emerge, which would reduce or eliminate the need for support structures. ConceptLaser out of Europe has a basic technique but I'm not sure how effective it is.

I definitely agree about the motion control, although most SLS machines us a mirror system to raster the laser across the build surface rather than moving the laser itself. Those mirror systems are extremely expensive, running 15-25k alone.

The powder costs are absolutely crazy. Especially on the plastic side. $80 a kilogram for plastic powder is just a bit higher than the bulk price it starts at of ~$2-5 a kg. Talk about a margin! Of course the need for cryogenic grinding adds to the expense.

I'm surprised most of the OEMs don't offer a bulk discount when buying powder, but when they have a lock on the market and have 50-65% margins.... I guess its to be expected. Those costs do add up though, and really prevent new industries adopting the technology.

02-01-2013, 03:36 PM
Concept still uses support structures on delicate parts, however the 5x5 millimeter blocks do help some. Don't think your going to get away from material stress, since it is getting hot. And yes, moving a table under the laser would never generate the build speed needed. Honestly, I think a good laser with flying optics is closer to 200k alone right now. Also need to address the powder getting everywhere. I'd never want one at my house.

02-01-2013, 03:54 PM
LOL. Yeah, the powder issue is one most consumers don't get and really prevents powder based systems from being used in those environments. I have told people its like refilling a toner cartridge - but much worse. Then you add the hazmat that is metal powder.... Mild it may be, but still. When powder flows like water and gets airborne easily. Not a good thing for office or home use. TI powder especially. Love that low ignition point at ~450F in air.