Almost everything can be 3D printed now, but the next step is finding a cheap and easy way to produce metal objects. Here’s a company which claims they solved the problem.
An Israel based startup called Xjet is promising to be able to simplify the process of printing using metals by as soon as 2016.
Currently, the process of 3D printing metal objects is difficult and arduous but Xjet are claiming that they will bring to the market the first ever 3D printer which uses inkjet printing technology and liquid metals to print metal 3D objects.
Xjet CBO Dror Danai told The Times of Israel: “Right now, the only way to manufacture a piece of metal is by using a mold to fit liquid metal, which then solidifies. To make an odd-sized piece, you first have to make up a new mold and measure it to ensure it has the right specifications for the machines that are going to produce it commercially. Manufacturing a single, one-time item is a very drawn out and expensive proposition that makes many metal parts very expensive.”
The aim of the company looks achievable though, many of the people working for Xjet had previously worked for Object – now merged with Stratasys – which is the world’s largest 3D printing firm.
Why is Xjet the Next Step?
If this promise really becomes a reality, then the process will take far less time and significantly less money than the current technology. It will mean that manufacturers will be able to skip the mold stage which is currently required and they will be able to print specific pieces.
Xjet are creating liquid metals which are based on nanoparticles which are then stored in a liquid solution that can be inserted into printers in a tube.
“Because of the nature of the technology, each metal requires its own process to develop,” said Denai. “We are starting with stainless steel, and expect the printers and the liquid metal to be on the market in 2016. After that we will work on other metals. Eventually we hope to get to all the major metals used in manufacturing.”
As well as being simplified and far cheaper, the process will also become more readily available.“Using our inkjet technology we will be able to make customized metal manufacturing affordable for even small companies,” Danai said.
Do you think this technology could revolutionize 3D printing?
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