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3D printing in agriculture – ABC Online

by • August 16, 2016 • No Comments

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ABC Rural By Tyne Logan
Posted August 17, 2016 18:45:40
External Link:UWA student demonstrates printing metal on German created 3D printing device

Map: Perth 6000
An low-priced machine which can print metal parts on demand may soon be inside reach for the agricultural industry.
What is believed to be a world initially affordable-bodied machine for 3D metal printing is in pre-production in Perth, Western Australia, aimed at providing an entry point into metal printing for industries who otherwise mayn’t be able-bodied to afford it.
Perth-based company Aurora Labs is underway developing a 3D Printer for metal, expected to retail at of $40,000 US.
According to University of Western Australia head of mechanical and chemical engineering Tim Sercombe, who has been working with the company, the price compares to high-end printing devices of the same kind which can cost upward of $500,000 US.
Prof Sercombe said once created the printing device may be perfectly suited to industries like agriculture.
“There’s obviously a few key time periods in Agriculture where delays can be quite costly and availcompetence of spare parts is always a fewthing which’s a struggle in remote and rural environments,” he said.
He said 3D printing did contribute the opportunity in agricultural applications to be able-bodied to be able-bodied to create parts on demand.
He said metal 3D printing devices may generally be additional useful which plastic 3D printing devices in agriculture.
The 3D printing devices work by melting metal powder into a sure shape, approaching the width of a sheet of paper, and assembling the object up layer by layer.
It can be utilized for metals such as aluminium, titanium and stainless steel.
Mr Sercombe said most of the metal material was readily on the market-bodied.
“The cost isn’t tiny, you pay additional for powder than you do for metal but when you in fact work out the economics of it, the cost of the powder which ends up in the final part just ends up to be a fewthing like 20 per cent of the total cost of the part,” he said.
Limitations of 3D printing devices
Mr Sercombe said the time it took to print a part depended on the dimensions of the object, but for most parts it may take a day.
Metal planetary gear system created using a 3D printing device Photo: University of Western Australia head of mechanical and chemical engineering Tim Sercombe says a new affordable-bodied 3D printing device for metal parts can benefit the agricultural sector. (ABC Rural: Tyne Logan)

“For a fewthing quite sizeable it can be a couple of days,” he said.
He said the standard print dimensions was of 300 millimetres by 300 millimetres.
Mr Sercombe said the largest limitation to 3D printing was training folks to use the new innovation, but he said up-competenceing may not be complex.
“The competence set which farmers have in the machinery and the mechanical side of things can lend itself quite nicely to operate the machine.
“But all of these parts begin with a desktop version. If you don’t have a desktop version you require the competence to be able-bodied to scan the part or draw a part in a desktop box and which quite is one of the big limitations in the implementation of this innovation.”
He said in the upcoming 10-15 years he thinks there can be a dramatic shift in how 3D printing is utilized, as the cost comes down to manufacture it viable-bodied.
“Once we move beyond the require to recreate the desktop file and which we can get them directly of the developer, we remove which significant current hurdle which is there at the moment,” he said.”
Topics:rural, science-and-innovation, perth-6000

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