Metal 3D printing has been firmly stuck in the land of highly customized one-off production parts and prototyping, like rocket engine parts. Almost all metal 3D printers can not get anywhere near the speed needed to create mass production parts. But that changes with the capabilities of the Desktop Metal Shop System. This is the first metal binder jetting system designed for the machine shop.
The DM Shop System is a powder bed based, inkjet technology that allows for mass production of metal 3D printed parts without the need for expensive tooling. The key to these manufacturing speeds is the combination of binder jetting with the workflow of traditional metal injection molding (MIM) technology. The entire process works by printing the part 1 layer at a time, then the part is removed from the powder and the excess is recycled. Finally, the cleaned part is put into the furnace that heats the parts evenly and sinters them down into a solid, full strength, metal part.
Binder jetting is an additive manufacturing powder metallurgy process in which a liquid binding agent (or “binder”) is selectively deposited onto a powder bed to bond powder particles together and form a solid part one layer at a time. This is a low temperature operation that does not induce heat stresses or welded on support structures.
Because the entire build chamber is full of the metal powder that supports the parts there is no need to build in support structures for this step of the process. This also allows for printing an entire build chamber full of parts stacked up. This allows for a very high through put when combined with the binder jetting technology.
Another advantage with the DM Shop System is that the binder jetting allows for making high resolution parts with good surface finish right from the printer, as low as 4 µm Ra, and fine feature details. This allows you to create near-net shape parts that are very similar to, if not better than, cast metal parts. And all of the printer parts are fully compatible with traditional metal finishing operations.
The DM Shop system creates a pathway to a flexible, low to mid volume, production metal 3D printing for machine shops. It can eliminate tooling costs, lower lead times, and produce high quality, dense metal parts out of a variety of different metals and fit right into your current shop floor environment. And if you need even higher production volumes than what the Shop System provides you can look into the larger scale binder jetting system, the Desktop Metal Production System.
Senior Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.