3D Printers

WATCH: High-speed metal 3D printing in new Digital Alloys video

Metal 3D printing gets a speed boost in a new video from Digital Alloys.

The Burlington, MA based enterprise boasts “the fastest way to make the hardest parts” and in the video a titanium alloy (Ti64) is 3D printed at a deposition rate of over 2kg/hr.

Duncan McCallum, CEO of Digital Alloys, says “Joule Printing is a precise, closed loop process – yielding consistently high quality metal.  We can control exactly how much metal and heat are added to the melt pool at every voxel.”

As the above video illustrates, the resulting components are near net-shape and require further machining.

The Digital Alloys process uses, “standard, commodity metal wire”, this means that a wider range of metal based material options are possible. Furthermore, Digital Alloys tell us that their Joule Printing method, “has no thermal time constant (the time to move heat to where it is needed) so it has no fundamental speed limit. In contrast, laser powder bed processes are limited by how fast heat can transfer into the part without vaporizing powder. This is why layers are so thin and multiple lasers are needed to increase print speeds (at significant extra hardware cost).”

The speed is certainly impressive and the video reflects a 4x increase in print speed achieved during the past month. The company has plans to further increase speed and the eventual “commercial printer is designed to print at least another 5x faster than this (>10kg/hr or >1000cc/hr).”

Digital Alloys will officially launch a parts printing business towards the end of 2019, and will start shipping printers in 2020 according to the company.

You can read more about Digital Alloys’ Guide to Metal Additive Manufacturing here.

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Featured image shows Digital Alloys metal 3D prints, with and without machining. Photo by Michael Petch.