h a l f b a k e r y
Fewer ducks than estimates indicate.
add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random
news, help, about, links, report a problem
or get an account
Use this Mcor Technologies type of 3D paper printer to cut thin sheets of metal rather than paper. Each thin piece of solderable metal is coated with a thin film of soldier top and bottom, or just top or bottom for the first and last metal sheet that is cut. The printer stacks the cut sheets together
with a solder/heat compatible adhesive, or a metal adhesive if higher heat handling solder is not needed, to make a 3D metal object (5). If using solder, the object is "fired" in a 180 190 °C /360 - 370 °F common kitchen oven to melt the solder and bond the metal sheets together to create a 3D metal object. Expansion and contraction during heating and cooling would be calculated into the design for various metal types.
EDIT 2013-02-02 Additional ideas regarding combining sand casting or lost wax casting in order to economically produce products from iron or other more robust non-solderable metals (see links)
Edit 2013-01-27: I should add that this desktop printing concept is designed to be low enough in cost to place in home workshops or a small business with access to a common household oven or no oven at all if metal adhesive only is to be used rather than solder - when using aluminum or tin foil for example. This machine is designed to work only with relatively inexpensive solderable metals rather than materials like titanium or platinum. Existing 3D metal printers are larger and more expensive, and the 200 watt lasers needed for these machines are illegal for a commoner to own.
On another note: For kicks thin sheets of magnetic material could be cut to make a 3D object. The printer would not assemble the objects. A human or robot would assemble the pieces like a puzzle similar to (see link)
Edit 2013-8-17 Markus Kayser (1) has found a low cost way to use solar power to replace the laser in laser sintering 3-D metal printing. Kayser is currently 3-D printing glass, but metal, powdered or otherwise, can be melted via a Fresnel lens as well (2). A Fresnel lens is available on the cheap by removing the lens from old rear projection TVs found on Craigslist for free or a bit more. If the sun's beam can be focused to a finer degree with other types of sunlight focusing mechanisms, the detail of the finished product will increase.
Microwaves will melt metal. No focused beams required as metal powder will attract and absorb the microwaves by unknown means; one could utilize microwave sintering for metal 3-D printing (4). See also "Directed Energy Weapons" (3) Then there is eddy current induction heating that melts metal. How tightly can the currents be controlled and directed in order to heat and melt each "stack" of metal particles. To hold layers together, maybe magnetism could hold ferrous metal particles together until the Curie Point was reached.
Edit 2013-08: Example of thin stacked metal sheets used commonly in production of electric motors -- in this case to reduce eddy currents (5)
Edit 2013-10-01: It just occurred to me that there is way to focus microwaves - the same way paint is focused - with a stencil. The Mcor Technologies 3-D paper printer, if converted to cut metal sheets in the same way it cuts paper sheets, could produce "negatives" that could be called Faraday stencils. The Faraday stencils would block microwave energy from going anywhere but to the "positive" portion cut out of the negative. The metal would only melt in the positive portion. No doubt that swapping out the negatives to create each new and different layer of a complex one off product would be too time consuming and process intense even for a robot, but would work OK on a product in which only two or three stencils were required, like a simple metal box or aluminum ribs for a constant chord airplane wing (6). However, if a single, infinitely formable, Faraday stencil could be created on the fly for each layer, perhaps Eureka would be apropos. Oh boy, now more to think about. Maybe a ferro fluid manipulated by magnets in the same way that magnets bend light in electronic televisions to form a multitude of quickly changing images. But, the heat of the microwave sintering process could create a "Curie Point" problem that would disable the magnets and consequently foul the the stencil images. Tallyho! on to thoughts of alternative methods.
Edit 2013-10-03: Instead of Curie Effect impacted magnetism, maybe varying frequency sounds could be used move the metal particles around, or to manipulate the shape of a Faraday stencil, with a controlled Chladni plate type of affair. Also, the Faraday stencil usefulness would be limited by the frequency of the microwaves. If the Faraday stencil had focusing holes to small, the microwaves could not get through to sinter the metal particles. Lasers will also lift and move objects (7), but the lasers required may be too powerful or expensive or illegal for home use. So many flies in the ointment there are, but so fun to think about.
Edit 2013-10-05: A 3D printer can use ceramic as a printing material (8); ceramic or other home 3D printable materials that could withstand the heat of melted metal (10) may be able to act as a mold for complex metal 3D objects like a sphere made of bent rods (9). If I recall correctly, some objects, due to their unusual shape can't be cast because a mold can't be made that will separate properly; in this case laser sintering would have to be used or less complex parts could be printed and assembled to create a complex design like a watch movement.
Edit 2013-11-09 OK, maybe electron beam melting  is the hot ticket for DIY 3-D metal printing. An illegal 200 watt laser is not required for EBM , but a "high" vacuum is. A 10^-4 meters of mercury vacuum is required for electron beam welding, which may require a multi-stage vacuum pump, which may not be doable on the cheap, but would be legal to own. A electron beam is also required; I am currently trying to determine if an electron beam generator, with the power required to melt metal, with "steering" controllable by a home PC, could be DIY produced at a low cost and with a small footprint.
Stackable 3D puzzles
A 3D printer could make a stackable, magnetic 3D puzzle in this style [Sunstone, Jan 27 2013]
Cost of laser sintering metal printing as of 2010-01-25
$650.00 USD for a part Sized - 1 1/2" Tall 1 1/4" Wide 1" Long 20 micron layers [Sunstone, Jan 27 2013, last modified Feb 02 2013]
For finer resolution, try this
Another way to print metal in 3D [Vernon, Jan 27 2013]
3D printers for lost wax casting
DIY arc furnaces are affordable, produce temperatures in the range of 6332°F and may be able act as the lost wax casting burnout kiln as well as melting metal. If the "ceramic shell mold material" is robust enough to handle the temperature required to to melt cast or malleable irons, the ceramic shell mold could be filled with metal powder and placed in the arc furnace. The melting and pouring of metal would be eliminated and only the "release" procedure would be required. See also low cost "Freeze casting" [Sunstone, Jan 29 2013, last modified Feb 02 2013]
3D printing layers of metals using adhesives or welding
I only searched for 3D printers originally. I just noticed a duplicate idea in some ways. The solder on the metal sheets and household oven is the unique economical goal this "3D Metal Printer" post. If thermite welding is a low cost, legal for the commoner (the exothermic chemicals may no longer be for sale to individuals at least in some western countries) and can be performed in the home workshop I think it is a beautiful idea [+] [Sunstone, Feb 02 2013]
The melting temperature of metals
The heat required by a DIY arc or type of furnace to produce objects from patterns and molds [Sunstone, Feb 02 2013]
Lost wax casting procedures
Wax is generally used for the copy of the original model. If wax is difficult for a common 3D printer to work with, a styrofoam-like material could be printed and would easily melt during the burnout process. Polystyrene is mentioned in at least one ceramic shell mold patent. If a ceramic shell mold will not support the temperatures required to melt iron, a common sand mold would be used. I don't think it would be practicle to melt powdered metal in a sand mold unfortunately, so pouring would be required. Internet searches show metal can be melted in low cost microwave ovens and iron can be poured in ceramic shells [Sunstone, Feb 02 2013]
Solderability of various metals
Semi-solderable and non-solderable metals [Sunstone, Feb 02 2013]
(?) (1) Video: solar-powered 3-D printer turns sand into glass objects
Solar 3-D sintering [Sunstone, Aug 17 2013]
(2) FRESNEL LENS Solar 3000˚ F Sunlight Melting and Burning Metal
[Sunstone, Aug 17 2013]
(3) Directed Energy Weapons
A DEW emits energy in an aimed direction without the means of a projectile [Sunstone, Aug 17 2013]
(4) Metal powder, if the particle size is less than 100 micrometers, at room temperature absorbs microwave radiation and is heated and melted very effectively
Picture a microwave proof nozzle spraying metal powder on a microwave plate. The microwave rotates the plate and melts the metal each time a new layer of metal is excreted. The rotating plate always returns to the same position to align with the printer nozzle and and X - Y guide mechanism for each new excretion of material [Sunstone, Aug 17 2013]
(4a) OK, how can we mod the magnetron in a domestic microwave (designed to resonate with water at 2.45 gigahertz see Wiki) to melt metal powder (for copper powder 2.45 GHz also)
Bully! The microwave will not re-melt the already melted 3-D printed "foundation," only the fresh laid powder. [Sunstone, Aug 23 2013]
(4b) But, but... you can't focus microwaves like a laser
OK, but there is no need to fucus the microwaves. The width, thickness or wall size of the object is controlled by the quantity and focus of the powdered metal discharged from the print head, not the focusing of the microwave as is necessary with a laser. The foundation will not melt with micraowaves, only the fresh laid powder. Any excess powder will fall off the already created foundation and into a trough inaccessible to the microwaves -- a microwave blocking door, like the Faraday cage glass door in front of a home microwave door, covering the trough could close prior to sentering the next layer. The finished product does not have a lathe or mill quality finsh, because the powder falling off the foundatiuohn will form a V, cone or berm shape, like a freshly poured pile of dirt, it's a start that can be conquered in future incarnations and close enough for government work for many applications; the berm problem is being defeated in solar 3D sand particle to glass printing by, it appears, piling more sand on top of the latest layer of sand and focusing the solar beam on the fresh sand atop the last layer (1). As Microwaves can't be focused yet, I think, some other method will be required to produce things in a microwave sentering machine [Sunstone, Aug 23 2013, last modified Sep 01 2013]
(5) Stacked, thin metal sheets in common use today
Thin is in for electric motor production. I learned this on the Science Channel "How it's Made" program recently. Thank you Sci Channel [Sunstone, Aug 23 2013]
(6) Constant chord wing ribs
Not than an airfoil is needed for flight of course :-) [Sunstone, Oct 01 2013]
(7) Lasers lift/move objects
[Sunstone, Oct 03 2013]
(8) 3D printer can create ceramic objects
If ceramics will stand the heat of solidifying metal, a home 3D printer could create the mold and the metal from a home foundry could be poured in the mold. [Sunstone, Oct 06 2013]
(9) Example of a complex shape to create in metal on a 3D printer, versus a simple shape like a box or such
This particular object is used as a prop on a church stage [Sunstone, Oct 06 2013]
(10) Ceramic mold used for casting metals
[Sunstone, Oct 06 2013]
 Electron Beam Melting
[Sunstone, Nov 09 2013]
 Wringing is the process of sliding two blocks together so that their faces lightly bond. Because of their ultraflat surfaces, when wrung, gauge blocks adhere to each other tightly. Properly wrung blocks may withstand a 75 lbf (330 N) pull
[Sunstone, Nov 09 2013]
Watch and Learn: There's More Than One Way to Additively Manufacture a Metal
[Sunstone, Nov 09 2013]
A new one on me - liquid metal 3-D printing. We are getting there
Prints with molten metals such as aluminum and copper; is like an inkjet printer for metal [Sunstone, Nov 23 2013]
They cut shapes out of thin sheets of BMG and then stack the sheets and fuse them by various means
Liquidmetal is a mix of titanium, nickel, copper and zirconium among other metals making it tough, light and scratch resistant. It also feels as smooth as glass. It is a slow cooling alloy which means it can be moulded more easily than steel or aluminium, and is more hard wearing. [Sunstone, Nov 23 2013]
In one embodiment, layers of BMG can be cut from one or more sheets of BMG to desired shapes, stacked and fused to form the part. Apple's primary example of this invention focuses in on 3D printing. See figure 5
[Sunstone, Nov 23 2013]
American Pearl touts 3D-printed metal jewelry. The vast majority of its jewelry is 3D printed at one-quarter of standard retail prices
The technology will very disruptive to the $85 billion a year U.S. jewelry industry. Gold poured in molds now, laser sintering next [Sunstone, Dec 12 2013]
||This could work out soundly. +
||This could work out soundly. +
||Not to go against the grain (but then to do just that), there are a few things. How would thin sections be prevented from toppling during firing? Or during assembly if there is no adhesive? Or if there is glue, what kind is compatible with firing without offgassing and causing delamination? What about surface tension of the molten solder, won't it pull and distort anything non-symmetric?
||Other than that, I think this could work out soundly (+)
||Pesky engineering issues. I hear the sound of thinking...
||// How would thin sections be prevented from
toppling during firing?//
||Easy. Just specify a few holes in each piece,
which line up with one another. Then, during
assembly, drop metal pegs into the holes. If the
shape doesn't have any region which would allow
for pegs running the full height, then use multiple
pegs in offset holes.
||You might also want to clamp the layers during
||The suggestion of magnetic layers is quite nice,
since (if the layers were all magnetized north-up,
they'd naturally stick together). However,
magnetic materials lose their magnetization at
||// coated with a thin film of soldier //
||Is there some sort of IED involved in this ? We disapprove, at least if it involves injury to Western troops. Obviously, if the victims are poor people in hot countries far away, we withdraw the objection.
||He's only planning on using soldier tops and
||Not sure how this is different to Selective Laser Sintering... maybe the soldering part?
||//Believe this to be mostly (if not fully) baked.//
||If you read the idea (the big thing at upper left of
this page), it starts with: "Use this Mcor technologies
type of 3D paper printer to cut thin sheets of metal
rather than paper."
||So, while I can't be sure, I think the idea here is to
use metal and solder rather than paper and glue.
||Laser sintering is OK, although it's a bit tedious (the
machine spreads a thin layer of powder; then fuses
selected areas, spreads another layer...). And since
when is an advancement a prerequisite for an HB
Post (before answering, please pause to reflect on
the Bee Releasing Jam Filled Banjo Leg).
||Arcam is a Swedish(?) company that makes Electron Beam Melting 3D printers, which is supposed to be the premier technology for printing high-quality metal parts.
||Karen Taminger is the NASA engineer who has pioneered 3D Electron Beam Melting Freeform Fabrication, and there are plans to put such a printer on the ISS.
||Do a Google search for "Metalicarap" and you'll see there is some group of do-it-yourselfers trying to make their own cheap Electron Beam Melting printer for around the cost of a used car.
||Metal is the killer app for 3D printers, IMHO. If that can be done at reasonable cost, then it will change the world.
||Laminated metal products have been around for a
number of years. The layers are usually held together
with rivets. I have several pair of special-function
pliers that are made of laminated metal. One could
replace the rivets or solder with adhesives to obtain
approximately the same result.
||Forget about all of the sintering and soldiering. If you want
to make something lasting out of metal, you don't fool
around trying to glue it together, you weld it.
||The cheap and easy way would be contact resistance
welding, a common method used to construct things like
monocoque car bodies.
||The really cool way to do it would be what I will call
(because I don't know if it exists, and what it's really called
if it does) cryovac molecular welding: the process is
performed in a vacuum chamber, where two perfectly-
fitted parts will be hit with a jet of liquid nitrogen just
before they are brought into contact. As they slowly warm
in the total vacuum, the weldment will bond on the
molecular level as the crystalline matrices of the two parts
shift back to their regular structure and rearrange around
||[Alter] - I'm not sure if you're confusing this with vacuum welding, a type of cold welding?
||I thought that process required normally unachievable levels of surface cleanliness, such as no oxide coating? (read this as difficult to do).
||I'm not confusing it with vacuum welding, I'm elaborating
upon that concept, and it would indeed probably require
||Cold/vacuum welding and "wringing ," two intriguing subjects with exciting possibilities in 3-D stacked sheets printing. Thinking... ya know, I must really be a nerd to get my nuerotransmitters stimulated about such subjects when non-nerds are immersed in cool stuff like Justin Bieber's Facebook page