California-based 3D metal printer manufacturer Formalloy have released their Lab Series (L-series) metal printer, which uses its own patented Laser Metal Deposition technology together with a blue laser technology developed by Nuburu.
Formalloy’s metal printers are used mainly in industrial part production and scientific research. The L-series marks the first instance of a 3D printer combining blue laser technology with LMD technology.
Building on the success of its predecessors
Laser Metal deposition differs from powder-bed technologies such as direct metal laser sintering, by depositing metal with a coaxially aligned laser and powder nozzle. This process is able to produce parts with dimensions from less than 1 mm to greater than 1 meter with bead widths from 250 micron and up
The L-series printer follows the success of Formalloy’s flagship A-series A222 3D printer, which incorporated a customizable build volume, ability to mix powders, adjustable laser power source, and up to 5-axis capability. The A-series has been used by NASA for 3D printing research and development objects.
Maintaining the flexible build volume and axis capability, the L-series adds an inert gas-built chamber and a scientific monitoring capability along with the blue laser technology.
Blue laser precision
Formalloy state that the new L-series machines will “3D print, repair and clad metallic parts” with greater speed and accurately than alternatives. This is thanks to the blue lasers, which produce a “spot size” 5x smaller than infra-red lasers, producing higher resolution and a smoother quality. The laser absorption of blue lasers is also faster than infra-red wavelength, making the printing process faster.
The first machine from the L-series will be installed at the Univeristy of California, San Diego’s nanotechnology laboratory
A spectrum of lasers
Fraunhofer have also used different laser wavelengths in 3D metal printing. The German company have adapted green lasers into the Selective Laser Melting process in order to 3D print copper.
Our featured image shows a a metal component printed by a Formalloy LDM printer. Photo via Formalloy.