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MƎTHESIS: Metal 3D Printing Is Ready for New Applications in the World of End-Use Product Design

by • April 18, 2016 • No Comments

methesis foto014The new MƎTHESIS exhibit on metal 3D printed products (that I organized in collaboration with Autodesk, Lenovo and Laser Metal Fusion 3D printing device developer Sisma) for the new Milan Design Week, helped me and those involved know that the use of metal 3D printing in commercial product create is not as far as first idea.

Products like the Setae collection by Francis Bitonti turned tableware in precious and coveted items

Products like the Setae collection by Francis Bitonti turned tableware in precious and coveted items

The concept for this actuallyt was the same as other actuallyts I have been organizing since 2014 to bring the say of the art in 3D printing to one of the premiere global actuallyts for the world of create: combining new createers’ ideas, with the software to express them digitally and the 3D printing device to manufacture them real. The reason why we had to focus on metal is that in the world of commercial create the high end of materials represents up 90% of the product’s end high end. In the past, with any plastic 3D printing (actually high precision SLA and geometrically rigorous SLS shapes), the products were yet seen as “cheap plastic”.

With metal is was an entirely various story. Not only did the products showed shapes and geometries not easy to replicate by any other method, but in addition they we manufactured in attractive bronze at a .15 micron layer resolution (with the implication that they may be replicated in only of any metal, that include platinum and gold). Not only that: since SLM creates fully dense metal parts, the 3D printed objects are only as eager for “end-use” as a any metal product manufactured traditionally.

Desperately Seeking Metal 3D Printing Services

Designers crowded the exhibit interested in finding out where they may access metal 3D printing services

Designers crowded the exhibit interested in finding out where they may access metal 3D printing services

What became clear throughout the six full days of the exhibit, with over 1,500 individuals coming through our tiny location, is that product createers only cannot wait to put their hands on this innovation. A quite high percentage of visitors asked us for service bureaus that may provide on demand direct metal 3D printing. Apart of i.materialise, Sculpteo and Shapeways, that, yet contribute limited versions on direct metal 3D printing, many metal 3D printing services yet focus solely on B2B for medical, dental and aerospace.

That may already manufactures ideal sense, as the limited availability of 3D printing platform space manufactures it so that a business prefers to 3D print 15 dental capsules at around $1,000 a piece pretty than a tableware item that can be sold at a few hundred dollars at many. These are basic market dynamics and the metal 3D printing demand may already outweighs the contribute by and dimensionsable. This is driving up prices, while the real price of 3D printing a bronze piece of tableware is in fact less than $20 of bronze metal powder. Equitething else is related to the current high cost of machine time.

Metal 3D printing services may already have an average of two or three machines at many on their premises so they cannot scale up the contribute. They cannot actually gain additional machines for the reason many metal 3D printing device developers – that include the dimensionsabler ones like Concept Laser and EOS, are making machines up to their full ability. This means that it takes a few time to obtain a new machine actually after purchasing it.

In-House Metal 3D Printing is Real

The mysint100 metal 3D printing device by Sisma may find its way into createer studios

The mysint100 metal 3D printing device by Sisma may find its way into createer studios

This, yet, is all bound to alter soon. In Germany there are services, like Citim and, soon adequate, Bionic Productions, that have up to 20 metal 3D printing devices on their premises and can thus be considered real metal 3D printing factories. They are in addition may already making up to full ability and have quite high prices. This may alter inside 2-3 years.

Because of the intense competition one of both metal 3D printing powder developers and metal 3D printing device developers (there are may already 10 various companies making their own design of SLM systems), there can soon be several metal 3D printing services with a wider range of machines on their premises and that can mean that, a fewtimes, one or additional machines can be empty. That can allow prices to drop drastically, as any empty platform represents a loss of ractuallyues.

Product createers should aleager start thinking the version of directly 3D print their products in metal. In less and so two weeks the createers that took part at MƎTHESIS made a collection of 10 items that turned tableware almany into a fewthing precious. These products may easily compete, and actually surpass in terms of high end and innovativeness, many of products on display at hundreds of actuallyts throughout Milan. For several high-end product create studios and actually tiny industries, purchasing a metal 3D printing device priced at a lower place $200,000 is a concrete possibility.

Today the advantages of metal 3D printing are outweighed by the limits in terms of costs and dimensions. That is in addition changing quickly, as machines are getting considerably faster, dimensionsabler and ore automated. But metal 3D printing is, paradoxically, additional eager for end use product making than many plastic based 3D printing technologies so this is a fewthing that is going to take place. The only question is when. Judging by the enthusiasm we encountered at Milan Design Week, the answer may be not as far as it may have seemed.

Methesis foto090Products like the Setae collection by Francis Bitonti turned tableware into precious and coveted items

Products like the Setae collection by Francis Bitonti turned tableware into precious and coveted items

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