Aurora Labs‘ first two low-cost metal 3D printers, the S-Titanium and S-Titanium Pro, are available for pre-order. Now, more details have emerged about the technology that makes it all possible from a “stolen” conversation between Aussie 3D Printers’ Michael Slavica and Aurora Labs co-founder David Budge.
David exclusively revealed that the machines are capable of operating in three modes: SLM (selective laser melting), SLS (selective laser sintering) and DED (directed energy deposition). While most readers of this blog are familiar with SLM and SLS technologies (they both bind metal particles together with the use of a laser, although the binding processes and qualities differ slightly), David described the DED process as a “powder stream being fed directly into the laser beam at the point it meets the base material, generating a miniature weld pool which is moved around the surface of the part building up material as it progresses.”
David also explained that the reason Aurora Labs’ systems are available at such a different price point is that the company has patented different technologies that enable mass production of these machines. While Aurora Labs has realized the first two 3D printers, they are now in the process of building a large format system that can print a one tonne part in a 24 hour period, using a new, entirely novel technology. This “monster” might see the light of day within the next 12 months.
“While the machine will be able to 3D print parts up to one tonne in size in a 24 hour period,” David said, “it could also be used to 3D print a thousand 1kg parts in a 24 hour period. We are expecting the resolution to be comparable to that of existing SLM machines. We also have been releasing images of various parts as we 3D print them.”
The first test parts have involved objects, such as ball valves with internal cavities, which cannot be manufactured without additive technology. Michael also asked for photos of the machines, but, so far, Aurora Labs has only released the photos of the 3D printed parts (which you see here); however, David promised that they are currently in high level discussions with several investor groups and more news is due out in the upcoming weeks. We probably don’t need to say this but… stay tuned.
*This article was edited on June 14th to reflect the fact that Aurora Labs is not currently actively conducting tests with UWA (University of Western Australia).