Last year Joris Laarman Studio and two tutors from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia released a free form 3D printer. The machine, a material extruding robot arm, can print layer by layer onto any surface at any angle by using a fast-curing resin. Coming back to the present day, the project has now evolved to print metal.
Joris Laarman Lab, in partnership with Acotech, upgraded their resin printer by outfitting the robotic arm with an advanced welding machine. The new MX3D-Metal is capable of fusing bits of molten metal -steel, stainless steel, aluminium, bronze or copper without the need for support-structures.
At the same time, and with support from Autodesk, the team is working on the machine’s accompanying software, saying that the combination of robot and welding is driven by different types of software that work closely together. This will eventually lead to a more user friendly interface that allows the user to print directly from CAD.
Unfortunately, right now the printing process is rather slow, as the metal has to cool enough to continue extruding. To make up for it, the MX3D can print in any direction and is freed from the confines of an enclosure. This means that the theoretical size of the machine’s print volume is limitless. Of course, there are still safety precautions that need consideration, but still, the possibilities for such a machine are mind-blowing.
Let’s take a look at the machine in action!