Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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3D model maker

3D metal model maker. Formerly "3D printer creates metal objects"
  [vote for,

Use the 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 solder 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, 2014-10-02 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. The solar 3-D printer could create a mold out of sand, then liquid metal could be poured in the mold. 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 [11] 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.

Edit 2015-03-04 The Mcor paper 3D printer could create the model object that one would pour casting sand around. The metal poured in the casting sand would burn the paper out (though likely pollute the cast item it required critical strength) similar to lost wax casting. Just a thought.

Edit 2015-03-06 Paper mache printer. Make the printing material out of CHEAP ground up newspaper particles (shredded in an old blender) and glue resembling the consistency of the food paste used to make cookies and such on 3D printers for food, or the consistency of the hot plastic used on 3D plastic printing machines. Print out the object for final use or for a casting mold.

2016-02-28 Steel reinforced epoxy is not metal but it's start. This material has a tensile strength of 2424 PSI and will handle temperatures up to 300 degrees. The downside is the material takes six minutes to set and therefore take maybe six minute between layers. Maybe cyanoacrylate and other steel reinforced glues could be developed for specific applications. JB Weld has a long history of astounding metal repair accomplishments. [13]

2017-5-2 Use high heat JB Weld to bond the metal sheets together. Or use JB Weld high heat as an ink in a regular 3D printer. Search Google for "soldering sheetmetal" for more information on the original idea.

Sunstone, Jan 27 2013

Stackable 3D puzzles http://www.blinkx.c...gHviJ7zVEiNKRzyIrXQ
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 http://directmetall...intering-costs.html
$650.00 USD for a part Sized - 1 1/2" Tall 1 1/4" Wide 1" Long 20 micron layers [Sunstone, Jan 28 2013, last modified Feb 02 2013]

3D printers for lost wax casting http://ostrevolutio...st-wax-casting.html
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 Layered_20prototyping
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 http://www.engineer...e-metals-d_860.html
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 https://en.wikipedi...ki/Lost-wax_casting
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 https://en.wikipedi.../wiki/Solderability
Semi-solderable and non-solderable metals [Sunstone, Feb 02 2013]

(1) Video: solar-powered 3-D printer turns sand into glass objects http://www.smartpla...ove-efficiency/8134
Solar 3-D sintering [Sunstone, Aug 17 2013, last modified Oct 02 2014]

(2) FRESNEL LENS Solar 3000˚ F Sunlight Melting and Burning Metal https://www.youtube...watch?v=i_8cynWnAw8
[Sunstone, Aug 17 2013]

(3) Directed Energy Weapons https://en.wikipedi...n#Microwave_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 http://www.accesssc...n=6&questionID=4418
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) http://www.scienced...06/990622055733.htm
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 http://forums.repra...read.php?215,192211
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 http://www.polarisl...or-laminations.html
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 24 2013]

(7) Lasers lift/move objects http://www.dogpile....+beam+lifts+objects
[Sunstone, Oct 03 2013]

(8) 3D printer can create ceramic objects http://www.boston.c..._fruit_bowl_ca.html
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 http://3.bp.blogspo...uAM/s1600/Globe.JPG
This particular object is used as a prop on a church stage [Sunstone, Oct 06 2013]

(10) Ceramic mold used for casting metals https://en.wikipedi...eramic_mold_casting
[Sunstone, Oct 06 2013]

[11] Electron Beam Melting http://www.dogpile....ectron+beam+melting
[Sunstone, Nov 10 2013]

[12] 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 https://en.wikipedi..._blocks%29#Wringing
[Sunstone, Nov 10 2013]

Watch and Learn: There's More Than One Way to Additively Manufacture a Metal http://www.core77.c...e_a_metal_23236.asp
[Sunstone, Nov 10 2013]

They cut shapes out of thin sheets of BMG and then stack the sheets and fuse them by various means http://www.dailymai...future-devices.html
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 24 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 http://www.patently...nting-and-more.html
[Sunstone, Nov 24 2013]

American Pearl touts 3D-printed metal jewelry. The vast majority of its jewelry is 3D printed at one-quarter of standard retail prices http://www.foxnews....ed-engagement-ring/
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]

Inexpensive Metal 3-D printer is underway http://www.minimetalmaker.com/
The Mini Metal Maker moves 3D printing from the land of plastic toys into the real world of arts, science, and engineering [Sunstone, Mar 04 2015]

Molten metal printers coming http://www.tomsguid...ing,news-17602.html
he Vader is like an inkjet printer for molten metal. [Sunstone, Mar 04 2015]

Laser Sintering 3D metal prnting machine for $4,000.00 http://3dprint.com/...s-s1-s2-3d-printer/
Will be capable of printing with multiple metals at once [Sunstone, Mar 04 2015]

(6) Constant chord wing example http://www.airfield...nt_chord_wing_ribs/
Each rib has the same dimensions [Sunstone, Mar 04 2015]

$1,200.00 3D printer with MIG welder extruder http://hackaday.com...welding-3d-printer/
The quality and resolution of the parts isn’t that amazing but I love the experiment! [Sunstone, Mar 04 2015]

ItIs3D are working on a very cost effective one http://www.itis3d.c...-printer/3d-printer
At a recent Raspberry Pint Meetup (London) - These guys gave acouple of demos of 3D scanning and printing... One of the things they mentioned (last month) is that they're working on a 3D Metal printer [Dub, Mar 05 2015]

Open-source metal 3-D printer http://www.approped...inter#Printed_Parts
This paper reports on the development of a <$2000 open-source metal 3-D printer. The metal 3-D printer is controlled with an open-source micro-controller and is a combination of a low-cost commercial gas-metal MIG welder and a derivative of the Rostock, a deltabot RepRap [Sunstone, Mar 05 2015]

CMT http://www.youtube....watch?v=7HYW96AUl-0
Better than GMAW. Compare weld spatter. I use one of these welding sets for inconel overlay on carbon steel. The wire is pulsed approx 80 Hz physically by servo. It can 'weld' steel to aluminium, and can place pins of weld wire as well. [Ling, Mar 05 2015]

A complex design cast in a naturally existing mold https://www.youtube...watch?v=IGJ2jMZ-gaI
Ant colony art [Sunstone, Mar 05 2015]

3D printers used to produce "wax-like" patterns for lost-wax casting/investment casting and mold making applications http://www.solid-sc...mension-3d-printers
High-precision wax patterns to be cast in metal, to be used for mold making (RTV) or even to be pressed in ceramics for dental restoration [Sunstone, Mar 05 2015]

Get 3D priting done at Staples office supply stores http://www.fastcocr...service-has-arrived
Staples stores offers 3D printing [Sunstone, Mar 06 2015]

Printing food http://www.dogpile....web?q=3d+food+print
Yummy [Sunstone, Mar 07 2015]

Paper mache paste and material alternates for plastic http://familycrafts...he/a/blpmpastes.htm
Dryer lint, egg cartons, wallpaper paste, white glue, liquid starch [Sunstone, Mar 07 2015]

Paper mache clay and paste http://www.ultimate...om/paper-mache-clay
"Home-made air-dried cellulose-reinforced polymer clay. The clay dries extremely hard when applied in a very thin layer (1/8 to 1/4&#8243; thick), and it seems to dry much faster than traditional paper mache pulp. (And it only takes about 5 minutes to make)." [Sunstone, Mar 07 2015]

Would you believe a 3D printed....JET ENGINE? http://eandt.theiet...nted-jet-engine.cfm
[Ling, Apr 17 2015]

Another way to do 3D metal printing 3D_20Printing_20in_20a_20Vacuum
So many links here, can't resist adding one. [Vernon, Apr 17 2015]

[13] Steel reinforced epoxy http://www.jbweld.com/collections/metal
[Sunstone, Feb 29 2016]

Software makes layers to be cut and stacked into 3D models https://www.youtube...watch?v=jo5TxtKLmjM
Autodesk 123D Make lets you turn 3D models into 2D build plans with animated assembly instructions. Produce the thin metal layers with a laser cutter http://tinyurl.com/jclt8n3. . Finish the object with J-B Weld type metal epoxy putty and sand. If the object is small enough finish with walnut shells or similar in a vibrating polisher. [Sunstone, Jul 29 2016]

3D printing with carbon, strong as metal https://www.google....k&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
[Sunstone, May 03 2017]

Jamie and Adam test the fancy new Mcor 3D printer https://www.youtube...watch?v=2DRJ2oUK4-E
Uses a paper roll instead paper sheets [Sunstone, May 03 2017]


       Sounds workable. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2013

       Sounds workable [+]
blissmiss, Jan 27 2013

       This could work out soundly. +
swimswim, Jan 27 2013

       This could work out soundly. +
doctorremulac3, Jan 27 2013

       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 (+)
afinehowdoyoudo, Jan 27 2013

       Pesky engineering issues. I hear the sound of thinking...
normzone, Jan 27 2013

       // 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 firing.   

       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 high temperatures.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2013

       // 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.
8th of 7, Jan 27 2013

       He's only planning on using soldier tops and bottoms.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2013

       Don't ask, don't tell...
normzone, Jan 27 2013

       Not sure how this is different to Selective Laser Sintering... maybe the soldering part?
xenzag, Jan 27 2013

       //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.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2013

       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).
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 28 2013

       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.
sanman, Jan 30 2013

       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.
whlanteigne, Feb 03 2013

       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 each other.
Alterother, Feb 03 2013

       [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).
Custardguts, Aug 15 2013

       I'm not confusing it with vacuum welding, I'm elaborating upon that concept, and it would indeed probably require Intel-factory cleanliness.
Alterother, Nov 10 2013

       See link
Ling, Apr 17 2015

       3D metal printing is now quite common and quite cheap. One of my students just got a heavy broach printed out by Shapeways using stainless steel and it was only £20.00
xenzag, Apr 17 2015

       //3D metal printing is now quite common and quite cheap. One of my students just got a heavy broach printed out by Shapeways using stainless steel and it was only £20.00//   

       That's fine, xenzag, but you haven't actually read the idea, only the ambiguous title and subtitle.   

       All Shapeways metal printing is currently either:
a) metal powder strategically bonded, then sintered and capillary filled (stainess steel), or
b) lost wax casting (bronze, brass, silver, gold, platinum etc)

       I'm not saying this isn't cool - I think it is; I've used Shapeways myself. Actually, I should be getting a package from them in the next few days with items using both these processes. The author is also clearly aware of both - they have appended numerous edits, and copious links.   

       However, this idea describes laminating together selectively cut flat sheets. It's clearly a different process.   

       Sunstone - would you consider retitling your idea to something more specific?
Loris, Apr 17 2015

       Errr, isn't this called a blacksmith?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2015

       If the sheets were nylon or ABS, then normal plastic printing time would be drastically reduced. Waste offcuts would have to be recycled.   

       How about layers of novel unbaked ceramic materials.
wjt, Jul 30 2016


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