3D Printers

ValCUN opens pre-orders for Minerva 3D printer at RAPID-TCT 2023

Belgium-based metal 3D printer developer ValCUN has announced that it will begin accepting pre-orders for its upcoming Minerva 3D printer at RAPID-TCT 2023.

ValCUN has developed Molten Metal Deposition (MMD) technology, which is integrated into the Minerva 3D printer. This technology is expected to bring about significant changes to the metal AM industry by allowing fast and cost-effective production of parts on demand. The Minerva printer is particularly suitable for distributed manufacturing environments, says ValCUN.

“We are excited to announce the start of pre-orders for our disruptive, deployable metal 3D printer,” said  Jonas Galle, CEO and Co-Founder of ValCUN. “Customers are stressing the need for an easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy solution that reduces post-processing and time-to-part while remaining cost-effective. We are glad to announce that the MMD technology delivers just that and are looking forward to supporting our customers in their metal AM utilization”. 

Minerva 3D printer. Image via ValCUN.
Minerva 3D printer. Image via ValCUN.

A solution to overcoming hurdles in metal AM technology

ValCUN says it views metal AM as a “promising prospect for disrupting the supply chain” and logistics by enabling localized and on-demand production. Existing metal AM technologies have encountered hurdles, such as safety risks, laborious post-processing, and substantial capital costs, impeding the broader adoption of metal AM. ValCUN’s MMD technology addresses these obstacles by utilizing wire as the feedstock, providing a deployable, secure, and user-friendly metal printer that produces near-net-shape metal parts.

By leveraging the MMD technology, Minerva 3D printer offers several advantages, including direct and on-demand manufacturing, automated pre and post-processing, and availability of parts. According to the manufacturer, it is also sustainable and environmentally friendly, with low energy consumption and no toxic chemicals, making it safe to use. 

ValCUN has received funding from various sources, including private investors, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union, and the Flemish government. The company has already received letters of intent (LOIs) from manufacturing and research institutes across Europe and beyond. The Minerva printer is anticipated to have a high demand from academic institutions, research centers, and “forward-thinking” enterprises, with a particular emphasis on aluminum and high-strength alloys, says the manufacturer.

ValCUN Founders. Image via ValCUN.
ValCUN Founders. Image via ValCUN.

Technical specifications and pricing

Minerva 3D printer:

Printer dimensionsFootprint 75cm x 150cm (2.5ft x 5 ft)Height 2.3m (7.5ft) pre-install through regular door
Build volume 125 x 200mm³ (⌀ 4.9in x 7.9in)⌀ 200 x 200 mm³ extension kit (⌀ 7.9in x 7.9in)
Energy consumptionRated 2.5kWNominal 1.2kW
Electrical connection230V / 50Hz110V / 60Hz
Shielding gas supply2.5bar, max 10L/min

Molten Metal Deposition (MMD) process:

MaterialsOpen materials, 1.2mm wireValCUN qualifying & supplying aluminum 4008, 4043, 6061, 6082
Nozzle temperature700°C – 900°C
Bed temperature400°C – 600°C
Shielding gasArgon 99.999%
ResolutionsNozzle [mm]12
Smaller and larger upon requestTrack width [mm]0.8-1.51.5-2.5
Layer height [mm]0.5-0.80.7-1.3

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Featured image shows the ValCUN Founders. Image via ValCUN.