From: 3ders.org | 3D printing in metal is, in some ways, the caviar of the additive manufacturing menu. Not only is it capable of achieving extremely high levels of detail, it is also extremely durable, long-lasting and suitable for countless industrial and medical applications. There’s just one little obstacle barring the way for private usage: it’s terribly expensive. Fortunately, researchers from the University of California have developed a new 3D printing technology that could make desktop metal 3D printers a reality in the near future.
Current metal 3D printing technology is confined to industrial level 3D printers, and tend to use one of either three production methods: electron beam, inkjet and the most popular: laser sintering. Selective Laser Sintering technology (or SLS 3D printing) relies on a high powered, very accurate laser to graft metal powders together into solid objects. While very accurate, you definitely pay the price for the results. A typical laboratory model costs anywhere from $100,000 to a million dollars, and is therefore way out of the league of all small businesses and hobbyists.
And that’s why this study is so intriguing. Recently published in the journal 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing, it has been authored by Payman Torabi, Matthew Petros and Behrokh Khoshnevis, all from the University of California.
They have developed a very peculiar application of inkjet technology that is capable of 3D printing metal, called Selective Inhibition Sintering, or SIS. Click here to read the full article.