US-based metal 3D printer manufacturer Additec has announced its newest metal 3D printer, the Hybrid 3, at Formnext 2023. The Hybrid 3 combines liquid metal jetting (LMJ), laser directed energy deposition (LDED), and CNC capabilities into one platform.
Primarily targeted towards the production of metal parts for automotive applications, Additec’s new 3D printer combines 0.5 mm LMJ resolution with a high 4 kg/hr LDED deposition rate. The Hybrid 3’s two additive processing heads also enable multi-material metal 3D printing. This new 3D printer is currently compatible with iron, nickel, aluminum, and copper alloy materials.
Additec reportedly developed this new three-technology system in the space of eleven weeks. Additec inherited the LMJ technology from Xerox, following the acquisition of the company’s additive manufacturing business unit, Elem Additive Solutions, earlier this year.
3D Printing Industry spoke with Additec Founder and CEO Brian Mathews during the Frankfurt-based trade-show to learn more about this new offering.
Follow the full coverage of Formnext 2023.
Additec’s new three-in-one metal 3D printer
Both LMJ and LDED processes use low-cost COTS welding wire to 3D print near-net shape parts with 100% material utilization. LMJ is notable for its high-resolution 3D printing capabilities, while LDED offers high deposition rates.
The Hybrid 3’s LDED system employs a 6kW fiber laser with a 1080 nm wavelength, and can produce a layer thickness between 0.8 and 1.2 mm. The LMJ toolhead can achieve a minimum layer thickness of 0.24 mm, and offers a notable 0.5 mm resolution. “We have two fantastic technologies,” explained Mathews. “They’re both highly sustainable, with all the material ending up in the final part.”
The additional CNC machining system offers a 40” x 20” x 25” build volume, possessing a maximum spindle speed of 12000 rpm and a 21.1 m/min cutting speed.
Although currently limited to iron, nickel, aluminum, and copper, Mathews highlighted that the Hybrid 3 will be scaled to utilize more materials in the future.
“We’re rapidly expanding the material range,” explained Mathews. “We’ve incorporated a laser assist, and this is the first time this has been done with the liquid metal process. We’re using the laser for local heating, and that will give us a dramatically improved material range.”
According to Mathews, the company has already tested copper and silver with its new system. “I fully expect liquid metal to have a similar material range to laser DED in the future,” Mathews added.
The ease at which the Hybrid 3’s printhead can be replaced was also highlighted as being key. Indeed, with LMJ, Mathews stated that most of the technology is located within the printhead. As such, if the customer experiences a technical issue, “the chances are very high that the issue is going to be in the printhead because that’s where all the technology is.”
“It’s really nice because we can actually just replace the customer’s printhead, we don’t even need to visit,” explained Mathews. “We can just ship the refurbished printhead the next day, and the customer can easily replace the printhead,” as there is no complicated installation process. This is said to significantly reduce downtime and cut costs.
Ultimately, Mathews claimed that the Hybrid 3 has been developed with the future in mind. “We think liquid metal is going to be a dominant player in the industry because of its characteristics, resolution especially,” commented Mathews. “We don’t want to wait to have a product like this for several years where liquid metal does it all. We think the complementary technologies together allow us to have a fantastic product sooner.”
Technical specifications and pricing
Additec hopes to start shipping its new 3D printer to customers by the end of Q1 next year.
Mathews highlighted that the Hybrid 3’s pricing will start at around $500,000. However, the company’s white label product is expected to start shipping by Q2 next year, and will be priced in the $200,000 range.
|Maximum Laser Power||6 kW||–|
|Laser Type||Fiber Laser||–|
|Laser Wavelength||1080 nm||–|
|Layer Thickness||0.8 – 1.2 mm||0.24 mm (min.)|
|Maximum Deposition Rate||4 kg/hr||0.5 kg/hr|
|Wire Feed Stock||0.8 – 1.2 mm Φ||1.6 mm Φ|
|Resolution||2.5 mm||0.5 mm|
|Process Control Closed Up||Yes||Yes|
Subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter to keep up to date with the latest 3D printing news. You can also follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page, and subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry Youtube channel to access more exclusive content.
Are you interested in working in the additive manufacturing industry? Visit 3D Printing Jobs to view a selection of available roles and kickstart your career.