New Era of 3D Printing Metal Partsdpcct
A Revolutionary New Way to Manufacture Metal Parts with 3D Technology
Markforged’s revolutionary metal 3D printing technology unlocks a new way to manufacture parts, closing the gap between prototyping and production. CEO of Markforged 3D printers compares today’s metal printers to traditional mainframe computers from 1965. They’re large, expensive ($500K – 1 M) and slow at production. The design of these new era printers for metal parts is to minimize those overhead costs, additional fees and delays that affect time to market.
Today’s Markforged printers will drastically shorten development time and improve manufacturing capabilities by prototyping faster at a fraction of the expense.
THE KEYS TO 3D METAL PRINT-FARMS
- ADAM (Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing)
An end-to-end process that fundamentally scales down in cost, built on our existing reinforced extrusion technology.
- 3D Print-Farm Platform
High-precision, low cost, printer instances enabled through smart sensors.
- Fleet Management Software
Enterprise grade software which can optimize workflows, provide predictive analytics, connect, monitor and report results across a fleet of connected printers.
Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing technology is the end-to-end process of metal powder retained within a plastic binder that forms into the desired shape, layer by layer. The plastic binder is completely safe to handle.
Once the print is done, the Green Part needs to enter the sintering process so it can solidify the powder and burn off any additional residue.
The furnace provides the sintering process into the final fully-dense metal part.
PRINTING THE FORM
Creating the part is based on the existing 3D carbon fiber extrusion technology, prints are bound in plastic layer by layer. With ADAM printing technology, the same carbon fiber is used but 60% of that is substituted by metal powder. The Metal X is the first innovative 3D printer that separates from the parallel printer farms, because it’s built of Markforged’s 4th generation printing platform and the technology improves part development. Designed to solve problems such as dependable part reprints, quality surface finishes with no post processing required and dimensional accuracy on all parts. Markforged is working towards cost effective ways for manufacturers to start building their print-farms, by decreasing the costs of their existing industrial desktop printers. Their end goal is to get $1k printer instances.
The process of thermal sintering is well known in Metal Injection Molding industries to produce functional end-use parts in a wide range of applications. This step in the metal 3D printing process burns off the plastic binder and causes the metal powder to diffuse together to create 99.7% dense metal. It’s essential to add furnaces to the printing process and can start at around $30K. Full stack production furnaces are designed to keep up with an injection mold, meaning it can handle the part output of a 500-1000-unit print farm and can start around $800K.
Like thermal sintering, microwave sintering has the ability to complete pure metal parts, but within hours. Typically, solid metals reflect radiation at room temperature, but with powdered metal it absorbs the waves and converts it to heat. Once that sintering temperature is achieved, the metal fuses. With these high microwave temperatures, even solid metals are capable of absorbing the waves. Markforged has been microwaving the ADAM parts in 90 minutes.
The ADAM technology uses well established and known materials that are used in Metal Injection Molding. Those materials have the best properties for industry applications that require end-use parts and strength. Beta materials include; Tool Steel, Titanium, Aluminum, and Inconel. 17-4 Stainless Steel is the first of the materials that will be shipped.
Eiger software is a comprehensive cloud-based fleet management solution system. Combining this software with the Markforged printers makes print as designed easier to turn around parts with minimal error, responsive feedback and print analytics. In house, Markforged established their own print farm with over 100 printers – some dedicated to producing parts for future printers and prototypes, over 30 of them run long-term testing applications and around 20 are used to make sample parts for manufacturing operations. With a smaller sized print-farm they are still able to produce 6.5k parts every month.
MANUFACTURING INTO THE DIGITAL AGE
There’s a better way than pouring metals into molds, it’s called ADAM (Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing). It’s concept and design is meant to improve production and manufacturing processes through streamlining the design process, minimize costs and prototype faster.