3D Printers

[INTERVIEW] Metal 3D printer for £40k? Defiant3D launches Defiant200 at TCT 3Sixty 2023

UK based metal 3D printer manufacturer Defiant3D recently launched their new Defiant200 metal 3D printer during TCT 3Sixty 2023 in Birmingham. 

This new metal 3D printer utilizes Defiant3D’s Cold Deposit and Sinter Technology (CDS), a new method for 3D printing with metals.

With a starting price of £40,000, the Defiant200 offers a more affordable and accessible route into metal 3D printing, compared to the pricing of metal AM systems. Set to launch to market later this year; pre-order slots are open to prospective customers now.   

During TCT 3Sixty, 3D Printing Industry spoke with Defiant3D founder Gary Cairns to learn more about the Defiant200, and its novel Cold Deposit and Sinter Technology. 

Defiant3D Founder Gary Cairns with the new Defiant200. Photo by 3D Printing Industry
Defiant3D Founder Gary Cairns with the new Defiant200 metal 3D printer. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.

An accessible option for metal 3D printing

The Defiant2000 has been created to make metal 3D printing available for a wider audience. According to Cairns, this 3D printer is targeted towards “small and medium enterprises that can’t justify spending six figures on a metal 3D printer.”  

“We want to be able to empower companies to bring a capability that they’ve never had before,” explained Cairns. “We want to open up an opportunity in metal 3D printing that just hasn’t existed because the financials haven’t made sense.”

According to Cairns, the Defiant200’s £40,000 price point is certainly low, with other metal 3D printers on the market costing at least £100,000. Defiant3D are also set to retail its materials at low prices. The stainless steel build powder is set to be retailed at £60 to £70 per kilogram, while the support powder will cost £40 to £50 per kilogram. “There is absolutely nothing in the marketplace right now at this price point,” asserts Cairns.

The Defiant200’s compact size makes it especially well-suited for use in smaller workspaces. Capable of fitting onto a standard 1 by 1.2-meter pallet, the metal 3D printer only requires a 16A, 240V single-phase power supply. 

The Defiant200 incorporates a 200x200x200mm build size and can 3D print layers at 100 to 300-micron thicknesses. Moreover, in addition to the 3D printer and powder material, Defiant 3D also supplies its own dedicated slicer software. “It’s an all-in-one solution with 3D printer, material and the slicer software that goes along with it,” comments Cairns. “So you’re getting a full ecosystem that works together.”   

The Defiant200 has already generated a good amount of interest. Whilst Cairns could not provide names, he pointed to “some very large national and international companies” that showed interest during the first two days of TCT 3Sixty 2023 alone.

The Defiant200 metal 3D printer at TCT3Sixty 2023. Photo by 3D Printing Industry
The Defiant200 metal 3D printer at TCT3Sixty 2023. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.

How does Cold Deposit and Sinter (CDS) 3D printing work?

The Defiant200 utilizes Defaint3D’s unique, patent-pending CDS technology. This is a “brand new way of 3D printing using metals”, according to Cairns.

Starting with the material, given the low costs involved, it might be assumed that Defiant is using metal injection molding (MIM) grade powder. The Defiant CEO is tight-lipped on this, “I’m afraid I can’t share the details of the support powder as that’s commercially sensitive information.  We refer to it as a “support powder”.  The metal currently used is stainless 316L.  The powder arrives to the client in a standardized container that is loaded into the 3D printer.” Defiant will expand to offer other metals in the future. “What materials we add will be based on the client and our customer feedback,” explained Cairns.

That powder is then used to produce layers. “The powder is extruded through a nozzle using vibration.  Each layer is extruded in the X and Y axis fully before the next layer is extruded on top,” said Cairns. In other two-step metal additive processes where a green part is produced that is then subsequently sintered, it is necessary to ensure the green part can withstand transfer to a separate oven. However, Defiant uses a furnace built into the 3D printer. This furnace, capable of heating to 1400℃, is located at the machine’s center.

Combining the two operations, 3D printing and sintering, into a single system means that the green part does not have to contend with been moved. And Defiant is able to operate without binding the layers together prior to sintering. “The layers are sintered together during the final sintered phase.  Everything inside the furnace up until that point is powder that has been precisely placed,” said Cairns.

Once all material has been deposited, the furnace is sealed by a lid, and is heated to the required temperature by three thermal elements. 

The support powder has a melting point that is significantly higher than the metal powder. Therefore, as the metal powder is sintered into a solid object, the support material remains a powder. 

Once sintering is complete, the lid is lifted via a winch system. This allows the furnace to cool down, with the Defiant200’s high temperature extraction fan ensuring that all the heat moves away from the sensitive printhead. The support material can then be easily removed, with the 3D printed part ready for any post-processing that may be required.

A key benefit of CDS is that it is completely material-independent. “As long as you have the right feedstock powder and you have the correct environment inside your furnace, then you can, in theory, 3D print in titanium, Inconel, tool steels, gold, silver, platinum, copper, whatever you fancy,” stated Cairns. The Defiant200 incorporates a vacuum pump, allowing the furnace to be put under vacuum or fed inert gasses such as nitrogen and argon, depending on the material requirements.

Stainless steel parts 3D printed by the Defiant200. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
Stainless steel parts 3D printed by the Defiant200. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.

Affordable and accessible 3D printing

French 3D printer OEM Lynxter was also at TCT 3Sixty 2023, demonstrating their accessible and affordable 3D printing systems.

Lynxter’s S600D FFF 3D printer has a small footprint and wide material compatibility, making it well suited to smaller sized businesses. Additionally, the S600D can be upgraded when new technology is released by the company, helping to cut long-term costs. “Once you purchase this machine, you won’t have to purchase a new one when there are new new things developed,” Mikael Thomazeau, Lynxter’s Channel Sales Manager, told 3D Printing Industry.  

Lynxter’s latest machine, the S300X, builds on this philosophy, and is designed to be “simplified, affordable and open,” according to Lynxter. The S300X incorporates a LIQ11 single-part toolhead, and two-component LIQ21 toolhead. This independent dual extruder (IDEX) setup allows for 3D printing of high quality end-use parts with soluble supports. Lynxter advertises the S300X as “democratizing” the silicone 3D printing process.

The Lynxter S600S at TCT 3Sixty 2023. Photo by 3D Printing Industry
The Lynxter S600S at TCT 3Sixty 2023. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.

Away from TCT 3Sixty, last year Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Desktop Metal (DM) announced the S-Max Flex, a binder jetting system developed by DM and their subsidiary ExOne. ExOne’s most affordable units to-date, this 3D printer was designed to make S-Max technology available to a wider customer base. “We need to make production 3D printing practical in terms of speed, cost, and material availability for a broad range of applications,” commented Ric Fulop, Co-Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal.    

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Featured Image shows Defiant3D Founder Gary Cairns with the new Defiant200 metal 3D printer. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.