On demand manufacturing

RYUJINLAB launches new low-cost metal 3D printing service

Korean 3D printing tech-company RYUJINLAB has announced the launch of a new low-cost metal 3D printing service in its home country.

With accessibility in mind, the service is aimed at both hobbyists and manufacturing companies, reportedly making it the first of its kind in Korea. Although the company has historically provided resin printing services via its proprietary Light Induced Planar Solidification (LIPS) technology, the latest service will utilize RYUJINLAB’s very own newly developed metal FFF 3D printer – one that it believes will rival the likes of Markforged and Desktop Metal.

Tony Park, Vice President of the Business Development Division of RYUJINLAB, states: “In recent years, Desktop Metal and Markforged have worked hard to create products that allow access to metal 3D printing at a lower cost. However, it’s still quite a high cost for Korean users who usually use low-end FFF 3D printers. This motivated us to develop our own metal 3D printing technology several years ago. Now, we open the beta service to users.”

Metal Marvin model 3D printed by RYUJINLAB. Photos via RYUJINLAB.
Metal Marvin model 3D printed by RYUJINLAB. Photos via RYUJINLAB.

The cost of metal 3D printing

Since its widespread adoption almost a decade ago, conventional polymer-based FFF has penetrated every corner of the globe, and the industry as a whole has reportedly grown by around 30% year-on-year. With so many printers capable of printing PLA, ABS, PETG, and more, the consumer sector is generally content as its hobbyist needs are largely being met.

While higher-performance metal 3D printing technologies have become increasingly more accessible, they are still limited by their comparatively high costs, thus capping their creative potential among the general population. With the more common laser-based processes, in particular, high energy usage and installation costs mean users are forced to pay exorbitant rates if they want small-scale metal sculptures, often in the region of 10 – 100x the cost of conventional polymer FFF printing.

In Korea specifically, the 3D printing industry is now a $377M+ market, with service bureaus accounting for around $88M. RYUJINLAB expects its new service to resonate well with the general populace, based on the great success of its low-cost resin printing services over the past five years.

VP Park explains, “We want more people to actively use 3D printing. 3D printing is an excellent manufacturing method that reduces overproduction and thereby makes the global environment a little better because it efficiently utilizes and distributes resources throughout the whole process of development and production.”

Sample of a metal 3D print made by RYUJINLAB. Photo via RYUJINLAB.
Sample of a metal 3D print made by RYUJINLAB. Photo via RYUJINLAB.

How does the new service work?

The service operates on a very simple basis. The user is required to submit an STL or OBJ file directly to RYUJINLAB, at which point the company will 3D print a green part made of Ultrafuse 316LX stainless steel filament developed by chemical company BASF. The part is then heat-treated in-house to de-bind and sinter it and posted back to the customer in a ready-to-use state. A display model measuring approximately 13mm on all sides will cost around KRW 70,000, or USD 70.

Park concludes: “We are pleased to be able to provide an improved 3D printing experience for Korean users. We will carefully monitor the service during the beta period and improve on any inconveniences experienced by the end-users to ensure we can provide full service as soon as possible.”

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Featured image shows sample of a metal 3D print made by RYUJINLAB. Photo via RYUJINLAB.