Tag: metal desktop printing

Metal Printing Revolution from Fantasy to Industry

All right, now let’s get to the meat of this metal printing business. Imagine that you’re enjoying your morning coffee while scrolling the news. And then… You were reading about an “printed” part for a car. Yes, printed. This is not the same as old-fashioned swords that were made by burning, but printed layers upon layers. It’s the future. The metal printer is not the office inkjet.

What exactly is so special about metal-printing? Imagine being able create everything from rockets to medical implants, all without cutting, drilling or welding. The metal powder is used to make real, solid things. Design it on your computer and then you are able to make it.

It sounds like Star Trek. Then you’re not mistaken. Direct Metal Laser Sintering(DMLS) or Selective Laser Melting(SLM) are the two types of technology behind this magic. This is like creating a powdered snowman using lasers and not your hands. SLM? What is SLM, then?

Materials? You have a lot of options. From the classic stainless steel, to titanium exotics and gold. Each of these materials has its special tricks. Titanium has a lighter weight but is more durable than your morning cup of espresso. This makes it perfect for space gadgets and biomedical implants.

It’s here that things start to get interesting: the middle name of this new technology is complexity. They are good for simple designs but how do they fare when you ask them to work with intricate details or even features which can’t be seen? Congratulations! The metal-printing industry loves such challenges. It thrives under such complexity.

The metal printing trend is far from as straightforward as buying a brand new smartphone. You’ll need to be creative and have a good deal of imagination. Although costs are falling faster than when I made my chocolate cake diet resolutions, the investment is quite high.

What’s more, this field has enormous potential. The possibilities are endless. We could customize parts instantly for astronauts or troops in remote regions; create implants that would fit better patients than Cinderella’s shoes; build lighter and stronger frames for cars, planes, etc. This is more than the tall tales my uncle tells during family dinners.

The metal-printing revolution is changing the way that we create things. It challenges us to think big and push our boundaries.

When you next hear someone talk about printing things in metal, remember that the printer at your workplace is still churning paper. There’s a new revolution brewing that may redefine everything in the world – including gadgets and rockets.

And who knows what else? It’s possible that one day, you will be drinking your morning coffee in a customized mug based on quirks or preferences.