Headmade Materials Receives €1.9 Million in Funding for “Cold Metal Fusion” 3D Printing Process

Based in Wuerzburg, Germany, Headmade Materials not only offers patented sinter-based cold metal fusion (CMF) technology to its customers, but also encourages them to consider new ways to design and manufacture with 3D printing technology—while still falling back on conventional methods as needed. Its innovative and low-cost printing processes for metal have earned the company the attention of users seeking support in design, part manufacturing, and process integration, as the well as the recent reward of €1.9 million in funding from the Industrial Technologies Fund of btov Partners.

The hefty sum will be put toward “scaling up” its technology, according to a recent press release sent to 3DPrint.com. The company will also be developing customer and marketing services further. As a spinoff of Würzburg-based polymer research institute SKZ, the Headmade Materials team has been working on its cold metal fusion technology for five years. As it partners with btov, it is expected that research and development will progress more rapidly.

“We see the Cold Metal Fusion technology as a very viable approach for serial production due to the high cost efficiency of the process. The combination of mechanical part properties known from metal powder injection molding (MIM) process and considerable process advantages, such as reduced safety requirements due to easier powder handling and higher green part stability, is also significant here,” says Robert Gallenberger, partner of the btov Industrial Technologies Fund.

Cold metal fusion technology began at the hands of founders Christian Fischer and Christian Staudigel in 2015 while both were still employed at a research institute. Sharing an interest in machine building, their goal was to bring serial production to 3D printing—eliminating limitations, lack of affordability, and creating better designs for a range of applications.

The process is different from other 3D printing techniques as it combines metal sintering with SLS printing (usually reserved for manufacturing of 3D printing plastics). The key is in the plastic binder mixed into metal powder, allowing for more versatile use; for example, with cold metal fusion, metal parts can be printed on laser sintering systems meant for plastics like the EOS Formiga P110 or the Sintratec S2. The components are then placed in a debinder and then furnace for final sintering.

Headmade Materials claims that other benefits of CMF include the ability to use a greater range of “mature machine technology,” requiring no build plates or support structures. Users can count on savings in time and money, with increased productivity. Feedstock left un-used can easily be reused, and because of superior green part strength, both automated depowdering solutions and rough production environments are acceptable. Perhaps more importantly, because the process can be performed using existing SLS machines, owners of those systems can begin making metal parts without investing in new metal 3D printers, even the new generation of bound metal printing processes, like those from Desktop Metal.

“When it comes to the economical series production of complex metal parts, there is no way around 3D printing with the cold metal fusion technology,” says the Headmade Materials team in their white paper, “Cold Metal Fusion / Metal SLS Technology.”

Image from “Cold Metal Fusion / Metal SLS Technology,” illustrating the CMF process.

The Headmade Materials team plans to 3D print series with up to 100,000 parts per year. Currently, it offers its sinter-based 3D printing processes to customers, using optimized feedstocks and services whether in helping with design and production, in-house production, or ready-to-use final parts.

Overall, 3D printing with metal continues to increase in popularity for industrial users, from taking advantage of micro-gravity and 3D printing in space with the potential for large structures, to experimenting with new materials, and even furthering electronics with liquid alloys.

[Source: EU-Startups / Images: Headmade Materials]

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Markforged Metal 3D Printing Replaces Obsolete Part for Legacy Race Car

Founded in 2013 by Greg Mark, Massachusetts-headquartered Markforged quickly became a powerful presence in the 3D printing industry, first with carbon fiber reinforced 3D printing and then developing a novel metal 3D printing technology.

With a range of end-to-end processing systems, Markforged offers its customers access to the boldest advantages in additive manufacturing—not only through rapid prototyping but also rapid speed in the fabrication of high-performance parts. Past the initial investment, industrialists are able to see substantial savings, along with a new ability to innovate upon casting aside the restrictions of older technology. These benefits drew the attention of Tecron, a European company known for its manufacturing and engineering services in the automotive industry.

In a recent case study, the Markforged team details how metal AM processes improved the production of high-performance parts needed for the vintage race cars Tecron has been working on lately. Metal 3D printing offered the opportunity for Tecron to make a shift, especially in working with one of their most important clients, Škoda Motor, to streamline the production of an original, discontinued racecar carburetor.

Tecron’s collaboration with Škoda Motor exemplifies one of the most exciting benefits in 3D printing—offering the ability to create parts that may have become obsolete and are nearly impossible to find. We have followed other projects too within automotive and railways applications, with 3D scanning of original parts allowing for better rebuilding and maintenance.

In the case of the missing design for the carburetor, the original die used in traditional die-casting methods was lost long ago. The Tecron design team not only made an affordable copy of the initial race-car component, but they also modified the structure for better optimization.

Tecron replica carburetor

In another study, Czech Aerospace Research Centre (VZLU) partnered with Tecron for prototyping and testing new parts. Engineers were tasked with creating a new wing design and challenged with finding a method that was not cost-prohibitive. Prototyping can require extensive (and expensive) measures for applications like aerospace, and VZLU realized the need for different, advanced technology in creating complex models like their innovative nozzle design.

“The narrow slit in the design improves overall wing performance, and was crucial to the success of the process. Deconstructing the design into several more manageable parts would have a negative impact on performance,” stated the Markforged case study.

The use of electrical discharge manufacturing (EDM) was another possible choice, but was not cost-effective and would have taken much longer than with metal 3D printing. In using the Metal X by Markforged, the engineers were able to complete their highly customized design, quickly and affordably.

After analyzing over 100 additive use cases, Markforged discovered that industrial users are concerned with the following:

  • Accessibility
  • Design freedom
  • Physical strength and durability
  • Reliability

Data was compiled from the 2020 Additive Trends Report by Markforged, also showing that 46 percent of companies expect to be using additive manufacturing within the next two years. Download the study here.

[Source / Images: Markforged]

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3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup, July 19, 2020

A variety of topics will be covered in this week’s webinar and virtual event roundup, including additive manufacturing in aerospace, CAMWorks, product management, post-processing, and more. Read on to learn more about, and register for, these online opportunities.

AM in Aerospace Virtual Panel

On Tuesday, July 21st, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) will host the third event, “Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace”, in its virtual panel series. Sponsored by AlphaSTAR and Link3D, the panel will focus on how AM is used in the aerospace industry. Moderated by AM-Cubed founder Kristin Mulherin, the speakers are Anna Tomzynska, Director and Additive Manufacturing Chief Engineer for Boeing; Deb Whitis, GE Aviation Chief Engineer; and Eliana Fu, Senior Engineer, Additive Technologies, at Relativity Space.

Pre-registration will begin at 11 am EST, with a welcome speech at 11:25. The hour-long panel will begin at 11:30, with plenty of time for live Q&A, and there will be a virtual networking reception at 12:30. Register for the virtual panel here.

3DEO Webinar – Why I Switched From CNC Machining

Also on July 21st, metal 3D printing company 3DEO is hosting a live webinar, entitled “Why I Switched From CNC Machining: An Engineer’s Perspective on Transitioning to Metal 3D Printing.” The webinar, which starts at 1 pm EST, will feature 3DEO Applications Engineer Julien Cohen, who will explain the major differences between metal 3D printing and CNC machining. The following topics will be covered:

  • Compare CNC machining and 3DEO’s proprietary metal 3D printing process

  • Understand the value metal 3D printing offers engineers in design and flexibility

  • Learn about the pros and cons of each process and when metal 3D printing makes sense

  • Discover three real-world case studies of 3DEO winning versus CNC machining

  • See 3DEO’s process for going from first articles to production

You can register for the webinar on 3DEO’s website.

Free CAMWorks Webinar Series

To make sure professionals in the CAM industry have easy access to educational and training materials during the COVID-19 crisis, a free CAMWorks webinar series has been launched. Each session will give attendees the opportunity to increase their CAM skills, learning about more advanced features that can help maintain business operations. SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks: Getting Started” is on Tuesday, July 21st, at 10:30 am EST, and will be a training session on using the integrated CNC programming system SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard. It will also provide an introduction to the Technology Database (TechDB), which can automate the CNC programming process. “SOLIDWORKS CAM for Designers: A Path to Better Designs” will also take place on July 21st, at 2 pm EST, and will focus on how to use SOLIDWORKS CAM to reduce cost, improve design, and make it easier to manufacture parts.

You’ll need to attend the “Getting Started” webinar before attending “SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks: Getting Started with the TechDB” on Thursday, July 23rd at 10:30 am EST. This is a more in-depth training session for using the TechDB included in SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks. The final webinar in the series is “The Future of Manufacturing in the COVID Era,” also held on July 23rd, at 2 pm EST. This session will help attendees learn how to automate part programming to stay productive and competitive during and after the pandemic.

Protolabs Webinar: HP’s Multi Jet Fusion

On Wednesday, July 22nd, at 2 pm EST, Protolabs will be hosting a webinar with HP, called “Tips and Tricks to Leverage Multi Jet Fusion in your Product Development Cycle.” One of the company’s Applications Engineers, Joe Cretella, and Brent Ewald, HP’s Solution Architect, will discuss design tips that result in good MJF parts, how to implement the technology, and where MJF fits within additive and subtractive manufacturing.

This webinar will help attendees understand how the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology 3D printing process can be leveraged in various stages of the product development lifecycle. The experts at HP and Protolabs have teamed up to give you key insights into Multi Jet Fusion materials, processing capabilities, and part quality. Whether the attendee is new to additive manufacturing or evaluating Multi Jet Fusion for their production project, this presentation will help identify when the technology provides the most value and what to consider when manufacturing Multi Jet Fusion parts.”

Register for the webinar here.

Dassault Systèmes on Project Management Solutions

At 10 am EST on Thursday, July 23rd, Dassault Systèmes will hold a live webinar,”Discover How to Deliver Projects on Time and Under Budget, a Real-time Online Experience,” all about collaborating with integrated project management solutions connected to 3D engineering data in order to drive project success. Dassault speakers Maximilian Behre, the Online Industry Business Consultant Director, and 3DS Industry Process Consultants Siddharth Sharma and Alessandro Tolio, will discuss project management challenges, shortening the design cycle through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, provide a demonstration of Project Management on the cloud, and answer questions.

“Whether you are managing big programs that involve hundreds of people or are leading a smaller project, an easy to use integrated project management solution will help you to seamlessly collaborate across all disciplines with any stakeholder. Connect the dots between Marketing, Engineering to Manufacturing and customer services.”

Register here.

KEX Knowledge Exchange on Post-Processing

Finally, former Fraunhofer IPT spinoff KEX Knowledge Exchange AG is holding its second webinar on its KEX.net web platform, “Online Seminar Post-Processing for Additive Manufacturing,” on Thursday, July 23rd. Lea Eilert, the project and technology manager for the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, will teach attendees about typical heat treatment for AM materials, the necessity of post-processing for 3D printed components, and various post-machining and surface finishing methods.

Register for the webinar here. In addition, Eilert will also present the third KEX webinar on August 6th, entitled “Market, Costs & Innovation.”

Will you attend any of these events and webinars, or have news to share about future ones? Let us know! 

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3D Printing News Briefs, July 18, 2020: DOMO & RPD, AMPM2021, Alloyed

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, DOMO Chemicals and RPD have announced a partnership related to a Sinterline initiative. The 2021 AMPM event is calling for technical papers related to metal additive manufacturing. Finally, Alloyed has won a prestigious award.

DOMO Chemicals and RPD Partnering

DOMO’s Sinterline PA6 powders combined with RPD’s SLS printer, modified and upgraded by LSS, enable OEMs to step up their 3D printed parts performance. (Photo courtesy of RPD)

Polyamide solutions provider DOMO Chemicals and Rapid Product Development GmbH (RPD), a specialist in prototyping and serial production of complex parts and assemblies, have formed a strategic partnership for the purposes of speeding up the growth of plastic materials for selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing. The collaboration will merge the continuing development of DOMO’s Sinterline Technyl PA6 SLS powder materials with a package of support services for SLS technology, benefiting from RPD’s expertise in application development and the SLS process. Sinterline PA6 powders are an oft-used nylon in the industry, especially by demanding markets like automotive.

“Sinterline® has pioneered the use of high-performance PA6 in 3D printing, and allows us to leverage the same polymer base that has proven so successful in many existing injection molding applications. Backed by the joint application development services of our companies, even highly stressed automotive components can now be successfully 3D printed in PA6 to near-series and fully functional quality standards,” stated Wolfgang Kraschitzer, General Manager and Plastics Processing Leader at RPD.

AMPM Conference Seeking Papers and Posters

The Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy Conference (AMPM2021) will be held in Orlando, Florida from June 20-23, 2021. While this may seem far in the future, the event’s program committee is looking ahead, and has issued a call for technical papers and posters that are focused on new developments in the metal additive manufacturing market. Stuart Jackson, Renishaw, Inc., and Sunder Atre, University of Louisville, the technical program co-chairman, are asking for abstracts that cover any aspect of metal AM, such as sintering, materials, applications, particulate production, post-build operations, and more.

“As the only annual additive manufacturing/3D printing conference focused on metal, the AMPM conferences provide the latest R&D in this thriving technology. The continued growth of the metal AM industry relies on technology transfer of the latest research and development, a pivotal function of AMPM2021,” said James P. Adams, Executive Director and CEO of the Metal Powder Industries Federation.

The submission deadline for abstracts is November 13, 2020, and must be submitted to the co-located PowderMet2021: International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials.

Alloyed Wins IOP Business Award

Alloys By Design (ABD)

UK company Alloyed, formerly OxMet Technologies, has won a prestigious award from the Institute of Physics (IOP), the learned society and professional body for physics. The IOP is committed to working with business based in physics, and its Business Awards recognize the contributions made by physicists in industry. Alloyed has won the IOP Business Start-up Award, which OxMet submitted for consideration before merging with Betatype to form Alloyed, and recognizes the team’s hard work in developing its digital platform Alloys By Design (ABD). This platform is helping to set new metal material development standards, including the commercialization of Alloyed’s ABD-850AM and ABD-900AM alloys for additive manufacturing.

“Everything we do in every bit of our business rests on the foundations provided by physics, and we’re delighted that the judges believe we have made a contribution to the field,” Alloyed CEO Michael Holmes said about winning the IOP Business award.

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3D Printed Car Parts: Porsche Introduce 3D Printed Pistons for GT2 RS

German sports car manufacturer Porsche has been using 3D printing for several years in a variety of applications. For instance, it’s fabricated prototypes with the technology, along with using it to make steel, plastic, and alloy spare parts, such as a clutch release lever for the Porsche 959, that hadn’t been previously available. In spring 2020, the manufacturer introduced a bodyform full bucket seat featuring cushion and backrest surfaces that are partially 3D printed. While it wasn’t considered a production part at the time, the seats, which allow customers to select one of three firmness levels (soft, medium, or hard), are now available for the Porsche model series 911 and 718.

3D printed pistons for the high-performance engine of the 911 GT2 RS

The technology is interesting in both economic and technical terms for Porsche in its motorsports, special, and small series vehicles, and the manufacturer clearly recognizes the potential of 3D printing for giving its customers innovative and customized products. Now, it is increasing the efficiency and power of the high-performance engine pistons for its 911 flagship model, the GT2 RS, by cooperating with two important industry partners to 3D print these high-stress drive components.

Porsche took on this joint project with MAHLE, an international development partner and supplier to the automotive industry, and German family-owned company TRUMPF, which offers both laser metal fusion (LMF) and laser metal deposition (LMD) AM technology. In this case, LMF technology was used to print the pistons out of high-purity metal powder, which MAHLE identified as an aluminum alloy, and the pistons now feature a structure that’s been optimized for the high-stress loads acting on the pistons while driving.

Laser metal fusion (LMF) technology

MAHLE explained that bionic design, which only adds material in loaded areas, was used to develop the pistons for the GT2 RS. This technique allowed the partners to waste less material, and make the 3D printed pistons more rigid, and up to 20% more lightweight, than the traditional forged series production pistons.

“This project involved multiple challenges. From the design of the piston through the specification of the material and the development of the appropriate printing parameters, we had to make many fine adjustments to achieve the optimum result. We have now not only mastered the technical side of things, but can also assess how the method can be embedded into existing manufacturing processes,” said Volker Schall, Head of Product Design in Advanced Engineering at MAHLE.

These new pistons also feature an integrated, closed cooling duct, with a special shape, near the piston crown, which would not have been possible to make with traditional manufacturing technologies. The design of the cooling gallery was based on MAHLE’s work with piston thermal processes, and the duct actually optimizes combustion by lowering the temperature load at this part of the piston, which undergoes significant stresses.

Additionally, an extra 3D printed charge air cooler, which optimizes flow control and cooling, was added to an air pipe between the turbo and original cooler. This ensures a much larger heat transfer, lower fuel consumption, and more efficient engine performance.

“Thanks to the new, lighter pistons, we can increase the engine speed, lower the temperature load on the pistons and optimise combustion. This makes it possible to get up to 30 PS more power from the 700 PS biturbo engine, while at the same time improving efficiency,” explained Frank Ickinger, Project Manager, from the advance drive development department at Porsche.

The piston blanks were analyzed at MAHLE, and engineers paid plenty of attention to the piston skirt and the pin bore, which is where it’s connected with the conrod. Then, the components underwent 200 hours of endurance testing to determine performance capability and quality using measurement technology from Zeiss. The results found that the 3D printed piston offers the same high quality as pistons made with conventional manufacturing.

“The project illustrates how 3D printing can be used to further improve components whose performance potential has already been exhausted by decades of development,” stated Steffen Rübling, Project Manager at TRUMPF. “This will benefit many other industries, such as aerospace and energy.”

(Images courtesy of Porsche AG)

 

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MULTI-FUN Consortium Aims to Improve Metal 3D Printing

As the focus continues to shine on metal additive manufacturing (MAM), 21 partners are coming together from eight countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal and Belgium) in a three-year, multi-tiered project to advance AM processes, materials, and equipment for multi-material parts.

Dubbed MULTI-FUN, this long-term endeavor will solve issues in metal printing with powder bed fusion, where only basic alloys are available. Overall, key performance indicators expected are improvement in AM products by 40 percent, better use of resources and with smaller environmental footprint, and the emergence of greater potential and opportunities for businesses in Europe.

The consortium members involved plan to refine 3D printing with metal using new active and structural materials like aluminum and low-alloyed steel for wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). They also plan to design complex parts without any restrictions due to size—whether printing on the nano-level or the large scale.

Research into the use of nano-materials spans studies from integration of conductive materials into textiles to economic analysis of nano-metals within a wide range of applications—including critical industries like automotive and aerospace. In the MULTI-FUN project, the researchers will explore nano-materials further, integrating them into thermal materials, electronics, sensors, and more as four different objectives are explored:

  1. Development of five new materials (with at least three related to nanotechnology), customized for AM processes.
  2. Study of new processes and development of AM hardware and software for the production of desired materials. The consortium has outlined a plan for a minimum of ten new materials combinations using five new materials to be displayed by seven demonstrators engaged in different applications.
  3. Manufacturing and evaluation of seven physical demonstrators using multiple materials and functionalities. Three use cases in the areas of structural parts, molds, and testing equipment will serve as examples to show the potential in four applications like automotive, aeronautics, space, and production.
  4. Ongoing evaluation and improvement in AM processes in regard to the economy and the environment, use of materials, strategies, and demonstrator design—ultimately all leading to better standards and support of necessary regulatory bodies.

Consortium members follow.

A turnkey solution from WAAM3D (Image: WAAM3D)

[Source / Images: Chronicle]

 

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MX3D Uses Robot Arm to 3D Print Robot Arm, Installs it on Robot

MX3D’s steel bridges are an inspiring sight to see, but, even if bridges are what the Dutch firm is known for, they are not the only thing the firm is capable of making. The company now has released a new 3D printed robot arm component made with its metal AM system, which relies on an industrial robotic arm of its own.

Made together with industrial automation company ABB and software simulation firm Altair, the new arm has been optimized by the Altair team working in conjunction with MX3D. Altair’s generative algorithms were not only used to cut part weight in half, but also to improve toolpath planning on the printer to increase the print speed. The total print time was four days and connecting surfaces were finished on a three-axis milling machine. The part has now been installed and is in use on an industrial robot.

It is a good week for 3D printing bridges since we recently wrote about DSM’s polymer bridges. MX3D has been making WAAM printers relying on industrial robotic arms since around 2014 and we’ve kept you in the loop on its progress, use of machine learning, and projects involving Digital Twins for bridges and other large steel structures. Coupling finite element analysis (FEA) and the Digital Twin to manufacturing large-scale 3D printed parts is a key component of the DSM polymer bridges, MX3D’s metal bridges, and BAM’s concrete bridges. Indeed BAM’s concrete bridge factory is around the corner from Olivier van Herpt’s Eindhoven ceramics 3D printing lab with its ceramics and porcelain. One does get the feeling that it would be great if these four firms spoke with each other at one point, given that so many similar 3D printing initiatives are ongoing in the Netherlands.

Are we seeing larger-scale 3D printing coming into its own? Firms are bridging the gap between the virtual and real-world through connecting data to optimized toolpaths, designs, and parts. Driven by resolution limitations, difficulties of working with industrial robots (lack of memory, proprietary syntax), and a strict regulatory environment large scale firms are turning to software to solve their problems.

We’re seeing a remarkable difference between the “house printing” companies—who seem, on the whole, to be rather optimistic and cavalier about their endeavors to print buildings—and the large scale part printing cohort of enterprises. The latter, which includes MX3D, seems much more in tune with regulatory requirements, certification, and software than the former. Perhaps, because you can’t really sell a bridge ex-works, while a demo house doesn’t have any regulatory requirements, so the parts builders have been put onto a more difficult digital path.

But, through controlling toolpaths, FEA, weight reduction, and using this as a tool to try to get parts built correctly, companies have been forced to deal with these things early on in their machine and process design stages. This, in turn, has led to them being better placed to build actual parts for the actual world. Meanwhile, the “housebuilders” are building much larger more media-savvy structures that have yet to be subject to many thoughts on how they will be built safely.

In 3D printing for construction, it would seem that the earlier on your business model encounters regulatory opposition, the earlier you will design safety, reliability, and repeatability into your process. Logical perhaps, but not something considered so far by the industry at large. One will expect however that the “go big or go home” crowd will seem to be ahead initially, but then take much longer to develop process control once they start building parts that will go on the open market and touch the realities of such arcane and frightening things, such as the law.

Whereas houses may be the best clickbait, there are myriad of other parts that can be built with robot arm construction systems through 3D printing. Generally, we can see that our market does nanoprinting on the submicron and micron-scale (femtoprint, nScrypt), microprinting on the mm to micron scale (3D Micro Print), regular 3D printing which starts from several mm parts to around 50 cm parts (RepRap, Ultimaker), medium format printing which is for parts of up to one cubic meter (BigRep, Builder), large format 3D printing for parts from one cubic meter to around ten cubic meters (CEAD, BAAM) and macro 3D printing which is parts that are larger than 10 cubic meters (3D Printhuset).

At each and every scale we can see a strange thing happening. Scale drives accuracy which drives value which, in turn, determines go-to market and that determines the level of quality leveled at the part. This is super logical in the sense that small things often have to be precise in order to exactly fit small assemblies, which in turn are likely to be a part of something complex that needs high tolerance—a watch, for example.

At the same time, if you can make things that are 1 mm x 1 mm or less, then a stent is something that you can do and you won’t think of car bumpers. Of the total set of things sold in the 1mm x 1mm x 1mm range, often a disproportionate number of these things actually have high value due to their precision manufacturing requirements.

This is, again, logical but could go against the conventional wisdom that more material equals more expensive production cost or the “rule of most things” that stipulates that larger things are typically bigger. In the mid-ranges, there also seems to be an ongoing effect whereby, if the things that you print are likely to be the same size as inexpensive manufactured goods but are more difficult to make, larger and smaller things can vary more widely in price. Production difficulty, in large or small structures, drives price and applications, as well. I’m not saying that size is solely deterministic, but we are seeing effects here.

On the micro- and nanoscale, quality systems are adopted rapidly by participants due to their adjacency to the medical business. If medical is the most profitable thing you can do and just about the only thing you can do, you’re going to end up having a cleanroom. Meanwhile, it took a long time for a lot of service bureaus to turn to ISO, and desktop machines are currently still sold with a warranty that scarcely lasts past the UPS carrier’s hands. Now increasingly, quality systems and certifications are being adopted by desktop companies and service bureaus. In larger-scale things, we’re seeing medium format start to look at quality now.

Many of us are familiar with the innovator’s dilemma, whereby a large volume good enough product displaces a better more expensive earlier one. Could we in 3D printing see a similar effect where higher quality systems engineered for smaller sizes could displace established entrants with larger sized parts? If Prusa and Ultimaker were good at precision in the 10-cm range, wouldn’t it be fairly easy for them to scale their systems on the back of their existing installed base?

Crucially, they wouldn’t have to adapt all systems completely, but just make some components stronger to reach the next size of medium-format machines. If they jumped to the Cincinnati BAAM category, of course then they’d have to completely re-engineer everything, but the adjacent category would be simple for them to do. But, for them to work at the microscale would mean a lot of adjustments to their current design and manufacturing of hardware components as well as working in a higher quality standards way.

This leap would be daunting, especially since the volume of products made with the smaller category would be less than with their own. Furthermore, they could expect to sell less material and fewer machines in the smaller size category, but more material and fewer machines in the one-size larger category. Especially consumables driven firms or companies such as polymer firms will benefit from more parts, faster print speeds and larger sized parts. The sum total of these effects could indicate pressure on firms to move into larger scaled manufacturing all the time, but ignore smaller scales.

If we look at MX3D for example, we may think of its bridges which it may sell in the hundreds if it got them right and could certify them. But, MX3D also can sell many more smaller components at larger volumes as well. Its Takenaka connector for example needs precision, but this component could sell in its thousands. Bike frames need to fit with precision components, such as derailleurs, and the precision and volume required for these components can drive its other businesses. Operational advantages gained here could be used to earn margin on larger components, such as bridges, that few can make. It seems blindingly obvious if we compare it to bicycle companies moving to passenger cars and then sometimes to vans and sometimes to trucks. This development seems to be a very similar one.

If this holds true, then for MX3D, the future could be in making many medium-sized parts for a larger scale future. In Dutch we have an expression, “wie het kleine niet eert, is het grote niet weed”, which means, “he who does not honor the small things does not deserve the large.” For 3D printing, this expression may hold very true indeed.

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3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup, July 7, 2020

We’ve got plenty of 3D printing webinars and virtual events to tell you about for this coming week, starting with nScrypt’s webinar today. 3Ding and Formlabs will each hold a webinar tomorrow, July 8th, and 3D Systems is hosting a virtual event on the 8th. There are two more webinars on July 9th, by KEX Knowledge Exchange and ASME, and Additive Industries is holding a virtual event that day. Finally, a 3D Health Hackathon will take place starting July 10th.

nScrypt’s Cutting Edge of Digital Manufacturing Webinar

On June 30th, nScrypt held the first of a two-part Cutting Edge Digital Manufacturing webinar series, and is holding the second part today, July 7th, at 1 pm ET. In part two of “Pushing the Envelope of Digital Manufacturing,” the speakers will be Eric D. Wachsman, PhD, from the University of Maryland; Eduardo Rojas, PhD, with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Hjalti Sigmarsson, PhD, from Oklahoma University; and Craig Armiento, PhD, with the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Topics of discussion in this webinar include the use of metamaterials, building radio frequency devices, systems, and the first 3D/volumetric electrical circuits and antennas, and the state of the art of 3D manufacturing. Register here.

3DIng “Let’s Talk 3D Printing” Webinar

Indian 3D printer manufacturer 3Ding recently began holding a weekly webinar about 3D printing-related topics, such as SketchUp training, different types of 3D printing, OpenSCAD, slicing, applications in rapid prototyping, and how to choose a 3D printer. Tomorrow, July 8th, the topic of the weekly webinar will be “Live Demo of FabX, Hydra Series 3D Printers & AMA.”

Surendranath Reddy, the founder, CEO, and CTO of 3Ding, is leading the remote webinar session, which will take place at 6:30 am ET and last about 45 minutes. You can join the session here.

Webinar on Formlabs’ New Materials

Formlabs recently launched two new materials, Flexible 80A and Elastic 50A resins, which allows customers to make soft, flexible parts with ease. In a webinar on July 8th at 2:00 pm ET, attendees will get to learn all about these resins with the company’s Materials Product Manager Kathy But and webinar specialist Faris Sheikh. Topics will include when to use these materials, optimal applications, 3D printing material properties like spring back, tensile strength, and shore durometer, and the Ross Flex Test.

“To make soft and flexible parts with traditional methods, such as RTV moldmaking, can be a lengthy process. If you’ve also tried directly 3D printing flexible parts, you probably know there’s not many high performing materials available. That is now changing.

“With the launch of our Flexible 80A and Elastic 50A Resins, you’ll be able to easily fabricate flexible parts that are both soft and hard.”

Register here.

3D Systems’s Virtual Tradeshow 

3D Systems is holding a virtual event on July 8th in order to teach attendees how to transform their manufacturing workflows. There will be a keynote address, networking opportunities, multiple live webinars, and even a virtual exhibition hall. The company will provide examples of digital manufacturing solution workflows with plastic and metal additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, and on-demand services.

“Businesses are focused on lowering risk, resolving supply chain dependencies, streamlining supplier distribution and avoiding interruptions to supply access.

“Join 3D Systems at this exclusive virtual event to find out how Digital Manufacturing Solutions designed for today’s production needs, enable you to integrate additive and subtractive technologies into your manufacturing environment and workflow — providing increased agility, quicker lead times, improved productivity, and allowing you to offer new innovations to your customers.”

All presentations will be in English, and available on-demand for 30 days. Register here.

KEX Knowledge Exchange on Powder Bed Fusion

KEX Knowledge Exchange AG, a former spinoff of Fraunhofer IPT, offers technology consulting. As a service to its industrial and research partners, the company also has a web platform that offers over 7,000 profiles of AM technologies and materials, in addition to industry news, and has now launched a section devoted to webinars, with topics including post-processing and powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing.

“Together with one of our appreciated network partners, the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, we now launched a webinar section,” Jun Kim Doering, a technical writer with KEX, told 3DPrint.com. “Due to the COVID19 situation, ACAM has shifted their focus to an online offering, including webinars on different aspects of the AM technologies and applications.”

The first, “Webinar Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) – Advanced insights into Process, Parameters & Hardware,” will take place this Thursday, July 9th, and Erik Feldbaum, ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, will speak. It’s free for ACAM members, and will cost €175 for non-members.

ASME on 3D Printing in Hospitals

AM Medical, powered by ASME International, will be holding a free, live webinar this Thursday, July 9th, on “Building the Business Case for 3D Printing in Hospitals.” Point-of-care manufacturing leaders will discuss necessary skills, where to find the proper resources, how to address reimbursement, and other important questions during the hourlong session, from 4-5 pm ET. Speakers are Andy Christensen, the President of Somaden; Jonathan Morris, MD, Neuroradiologist and Director of the Mayo Clinic’s 3D Printing Anatomic Modeling Lab; Beth Ripley, MDAssistant Professor of Radiology with VA Puget Sound; Justin RyanResearch Scientist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego; and Formlabs’ Director of Healthcare Gaurav Manchanda.

“The ability to manufacture from the patient’s data (medical imaging or surface scan) has been compelling to a community always looking for ways to innovate. With improving patient care as the primary goal, 3D printing has directly impacted more than 1 million patients. More than 25 years ago, anatomical models began to be used for planning of complex surgical procedures. Today, hospitals are using the technology for surgical guides and more. With increasing numbers of hospitals looking to bring 3D printing into their facility, how are they building the business case?”

Register here.

Additive Industries Hosting Digital Event

On July 9th and 10th, Additive Industries is getting the trade show season running again with what it calls “a corona-proof way to get out of the starting blocks.” At its two-day virtual event, attendees can visit the company’s digital booth, view presentations, and talk to the experts to learn more about the MetalFAB1 3D printer and how the company can help turn your ideas into reality…all without traveling or waiting in line.

“While the virtual domain has limitless possibilities, we still live in the physical world. With our exclusive industry additive manufacturing event – we are making the virtual world a reality.”

Register for the virtual event here.

3D Health Hackathon

The Jersey City Rapid Maker Response Group (JCRMRG), a volunteer collective in New Jersey, is hosting a virtual Community Health Hackathon this week in order to foster community entrepreneurship and take on sustainability, supply chain, and manufacturing challenges that are related to healthcare and PPE (personal protective equipment) during COVID-19. There are three categories: sustainable PPE, modular solution labs, and day-to-day PPE, and the deadline to register is this Friday, July 10, at 12 pm ET. Panelists will meet the nine judges during a Zoom call that night to present their ideas, and then the next two days will be spent hacking. The final submission deadline is July 13th at 9 am, and winners will be announced on July 16th.

“Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis healthcare workers faced critical shortages in PPE created by supply chain disruptions and shortages. Jersey City Rapid Maker Response Group, as well as other groups like them around the country, proved that by quickly deploying 3D-printing capabilities and then extending those capabilities through rapid manufacturing – they were able to scale from producing 1,000 face shields a week to 10,000 face shields a day, both at a fraction of traditional pricing.

“We have reached out to leaders in the tech, manufacturing and 3D-printing communities to form a community-led virtual make-athon.  Our collective goal is to continue to bring bright minds together to develop 3D-printing, manufacturing and community-based engineering solutions to address the ongoing needs surrounding supply chain disruptions in emergent and healthcare settings.”

The current prize pool is valued at over $7,500, so what are you waiting for? Register for the hackathon here.

Will you attend any of these events and webinars, or have news to share about future ones? Let us know! Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post 3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup, July 7, 2020 appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

Additive Manufacturing: The Ongoing Uncertainties and Market Shares

SmarTech Analysis has recently published its Q1 2020 additive manufacturing market guidance for the metal additive manufacturing industry, highlighting the first quarter in an economic universe gripped by effects of coronavirus. The question on everyone’s minds these days is, “just what will the bottom line impact be with regards to COVID 19?”

Most in the AM industry still don’t know. No AM company is able to provide firm expectations for 2020, and certainly not into 2021. And it is this lack of expectations, or at least the continual presence of uncertainty, which may end up being the key market driver for additive manufacturing in the near future.

During the first quarter of the year, the metal additive hardware market was hit hard, down about 33 percent year over year compared to 2019. It’s worth noting however that Q1 2019 was the best first quarter in terms of metal AM hardware revenue in history.

To add a little more context for Q1. Revenues were down about 28 percent versus the average quarterly market revenue from the last twelve consecutive quarters. While that paints a grim picture, during the first three months of the year, revenues from material sales of metal powders and sales of metal AM services were much less dire. Metal powder sales increased slightly year over year, though they declined compared to the previous consecutive quarter for the first time in recent history. Services revenues for metals declined just 3 percent.  In this article we examine the state of play of the AM industry as it starts its planning for 2021, along with the market shares of its leading players.

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6K Partners with Relativity Space, Commissions UniMelt to Transform Sustainability in Metal 3D Printing

On the heels of their recent announcement of commissioning the first two commercial UniMelt systems for sustainable production of additive manufacturing (AM) powders, 6K has now partnered with Relativity Space to explore sustainability in AM production for rocket manufacturing and space travel.

Relativity’s Terran 1 – rocket parts will be built in a reportedly sustainable manner using 6K’s proprietary technology, image courtesy of Relativity Space.

The partnership with Relativity Space expands on the sustainability focus in metal AM, reimagining the aerospace supply chain. Relativity will look to provide 6K with certified scrap materials, used powder or parts, which can be recycled into premium powder that will then be reprinted by Relativity for final production parts suitable for rocket launch and space travel applications. The pioneering aerospace manufacturer is not only creating an autonomous factory to additively manufacture an entire rocket, from raw material to launch-ready, in just 60 days, but is also looking to do it by reusing materials. 6K will bring sustainability to Relativity’s unique supply chain, and ensure closed loop traceability in production.

Commenting on the landmark partnership, Dr.Aaron Bent, CEO of 6K, said:

“Relativity is pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing by 3D printing a complete rocket and we see this partnership as a natural extension of their forward thinking practice. Our ability to turn their used powder and parts into premium powder through the UniMelt process provides them with a sustainable source for AM powder. We are proud to be partnering with Relativity to explore ways to increase sustainability, recycling and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes, which the entire AM industry is uniquely posed to be able to integrate into standard practices.”

Relativity is continuing to build key partnerships as it prepares to launch the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran 1, in 2021, and recently signed a public-private infrastructure partnership with the US Airforce to use the latter’s launch site facility in Southern California.

Customers from key industries of automotive, manufacturing, aerospace and more, are increasingly looking to improve their supply chain efficiencies and shift towards more sustainable production. In shifting towards ‘green’ manufacturing, AM material suppliers are looking for ways to use domestic, reusable sources for AM powder production. While AM itself is often seen as a sustainable manufacturing method, the production of AM powders hasn’t been near sustainable, generating large amounts of waste to produce a small quantity of much-needed premium quality AM powders.

6K, a developer and supplier of advanced materials, is transforming the production of AM powders with its UniMelt system, which is the world’s only microwave plasma system for production. The system, which produces three to four times the yield of gas atomization, not only allows 6K to create highly uniform powders with the requisite properties, but also to tailor the powder to the specific AM process it will be used for.

Outlining the range of materials the system can produce, 6K stated that UniMelt is capable of producing:

“a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination, and capable of high throughput production of advanced materials including Onyx In718 and Onyx Ti64 AM powders. 6K’s UniMelt technology can also spheroidize ferrous alloys like SS17-4PH, SS316, other nickel superalloys including Inconel 625, HX, cobalt-base alloys like CoCr, refractory metals like Mo, W, Re, reactive alloys such as Ti-6-4, TiAl, Al alloys as well as high-temperature ceramics such as MY and YSZ.”

6K’s proprietary UniMelt system that produces premium metal AM powders at 100% yield, image courtesy 6K

The company recently commissioned two commercial UniMelt production lines at its 40,000 square foot plant in Pennsylvania, USA, with each to produce 100 tones per year of nickel super alloys and titanium powders. This could represent a significant milestone in AM sustainability, in both its processes and applications for existing and new metal powders.

At Formnext 2019, 6K launched its Onyx In718 and Onyx Ti64 materials which, after internal product qualification and 3rd party printing, will begin customer sampling in the latter half of this year. Additional UniMelt systems will be commissioned throughout 2021 to meet anticipated demand for premium metal AM powders. The company is also looking to certify its plant as a sustainable manufacturing factory, as a recent member of MESA’s association for sustainable manufacturing.

“The commissioning of the first commercial UniMelt systems is the culmination of terrific work by experts in manufacturing, process and materials at both 6K Additive and our parent company 6K,” said Frank Roberts, President of 6K Additive. “Customers and strategic partners have been eager to sample and use our Onyx powders and we’re ready to deliver. Accompanying the new UniMelt systems, the new facility encompasses automated manufacturing equipment and industry leading safety and health systems that confirm our organization is hitting our production goals while ensuring the utmost in safety for our employees.”

UniMelt’s high frequency microwave plasma, image courtesy 6K

Through 6K Additive, its division focused on AM material solutions, the company aims at the production of ultra-high quality metal powders, at scale, at low cost with more than nine times the efficiency of existing plasma processes, the company claims. 6K (which stands for 6000K, the approximate temperature of the UniMelt plasma system and the temperature of the Sun) also enables the development of alloy powders with unusual properties, combining different types of metals that could not be mixed before, and producing previously thought “impossible” materials for 3D printing production. ‘Unobtainium’, is an alloy made by 6K which was previously considered impossible to obtain or produce, that combines six different metals including copper, iron, nickel, titanium among others.

This is because 6K’s microwave plasma process is the only process that can achieve the combination of high entropy metals, enabling the production of rare, unexpected alloy powders for metal AM. What’s most interesting though is that 6K’s microwave plasma platform converts certified chemistry machine millings, turnings, previously used powders, discarded parts, and other recyclable feedstock into high-quality AM powders. This means that any machined alloy could potentially be processed into reusable premium metal AM powder with specific properties.

6K’s unique technology could accelerate the trend towards a circular economy in metal AM, image courtesy 6K

6K may be transforming the business case for powder-bed and sintering applications in critical areas of cost, efficiency, sustainability and capabilities. This could accelerate the shift towards a circular economy in metal AM, despite greater short-term impacts in metal AM markets (as compared to polymer) this year due to COVID-19, and could also strengthen mid to long-term demand for metal AM solutions – perhaps growing the market beyond a projected $11 billion by 2024 (as per SmarTech’s latest AM Metal Powders 2019 report).

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