Move ideas quickly through your development systems with The Virtual Foundry’s 3D Metal Solutions. By using metal printing solutions that perform within your current plastic 3D printing environment, The Virtual Foundry has developed a low-cost metal AM strategy that changes how work is done.
Open architecture = no commitment. The Virtual Foundry’s Filamet™ allows industry to use established 3d printing hardware and sintering processes already on the market to create pure metal objects at minimal cost.
Parts created within a metal 3D printing system go through three stages… printing, debinding, and sintering. Until now, industry’s only option has been systems with limitations in cost, safety and availability. The Virtual Foundry’s metal 3D printing systems provide a complete workflow solution from CAD to metal part. This means industry and educators can 3D print metal for as little as $10,000.
Examples can be found on The Virtual Foundry website.
How does it work?
Print: The Virtual Foundry’s Filamet™, metal 3D printing filament, works flawlessly in printers from the most humble home versions to the most robust industrial types. If it prints PLA, it prints Filamet™. In fact, no special adjustments or equipment are necessary. These 83+% metal filaments print just like PLA with settings familiar to users at every level. Your existing 3d printer will likely work well, but The Virtual Foundry can recommend hardware if needed.
Debind: Since objects printed with Filamet™ need only heat to debind, this step is incorporated into the sintering process with no additional equipment or cost.
Sinter: The Virtual Foundry offers a fully automated sintering system via an atmosphere furnace with a maximum temperature of 1400°C. Using closed-loop thermal control, this furnace comes to you pre-programmed with settings designed for sintering parts printed with Filamet™. The package includes everything needed to get started: vacuum pump, tongs, gloves, sintering boat and refractory ballast.
-Works with your current 3D Printer.
-Size is limited only by printer and furnace.
The Virtual Foundry’s system offering provides a safe process for users in a variety of settings. All metal powders are bound so no powders are released into the air at any stage of production. The system also fits effortlessly into education settings looking for a low-investment metal 3D printing solution. Educators are already including Filamet™ in coursework around novel materials and metal AM. They recognize that this technology offers a simple solution to a difficult problem. The low-cost entry into printing and sintering with Filamet™ make this an easy – and important – addition to STEM and STEAM curricula.
Who’s already working with The Virtual foundry? The U.S. Navy, Mitsubishi, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, plus many research and educational Institutions.
Materials currently available: Stainless 316L, Copper, Bronze. 15+ other materials available by Special Order and many more in development.
Featured image shows a metal 3D print using Filamet™. Photo via The Virtual Foundry.