Here we go again with the best news from this week’s AM world.
This week was all about the metal. I had 2 visits from startups perporting to be doing something radically new in the space to make it super fast or super cheap or both. In fact, come to think of it, we’ve been saying for a while that all the major investment in AM is going into metal:
Metal Dominates AM (c) Authentise
Another call I had with one of the major metal studios swore by Arcam “because they can put more power into their lasers”. Plus, all the top news we saw was about cheaper printers, expansion of metal print service providers (Norsk) and grants to solve some of the clear remaining challenges. Clearly, there are exciting times ahead.
$50K 3D Metal Printer on the Horizon
The company, based in the aptly named Ambitious Link in Bibra Lake, is creating two types of metal 3-D printers which, it claims, consist of world-first technology that could change industry for ever. After 3 1/2 years, Aurora is turning its attention to life as a public company and is set to list on Tuesday after raising $2.8 million in an initial public offering. The company is completing the beta testing of its two small-format printer models with a view to moving into production by the end of this year. The small-format printers retail for under $US50,000. According to Mr Budge, a self-described robotics fanatic, the difference between its technology and the plethora of competing metal 3-D printers is it is cheaper and, for medium and large-format printers that are being developed, faster.
Read the full article here.
Norsk Titanium’s New Strategy for Metal AM, Brings Business to US
While Norsk Titanium (NTi) was founded 2007, it wasn’t until the last few years that the Norwegian metal 3D printing company began attracting a lot of attention and investment dollars in the United States. That’s because, not only has NTi begun to expand its focus from 3D printing for the oil and gas industry to aerospace, but it has also started to work with a lot of big names, including Alcoa, Boeing, Airbus and, even, the State of New York. Chip Yates, vice president of Marketing at NTi, explained that NTi began with a lucrative career in the oil and gas space, working with the leading supplier of oil in Norway, but made the shift to aerospace when oil prices began to drop dramatically.
Yates pointed out that, unlike other metal 3D printing companies, NTi is not in the business of selling machines. Instead, the firm is a parts producer that leverages its RPD expertise to fill orders for its clients. According to Yates, this client list is actually quite a long one, and NTi is aggressively expanding the capacity to fulfill demand. For that reason, NTi has just opened a second MERKE IV manufacturing plant in Norway and will open an industrial-scale metal 3D printing facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Read all about it at Engineering.com
$350K to PITT Researchers to Optimize Designs for Metal AM
A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and from Pittsburgh-based motion-control manufacturer Aerotech has recently been awarded a grant of $350,000 by the NSF to pursue their research and development of fast computational modeling systems for metal 3D printing. Metal AM is hard to design for because of the issues of distortions and stresses which can oftentimes arise when 3D printing complex geometries. In response to these 3D printing hurdles, the PITT research team led by Dr. Albert To is working on developing a both simple and accurate thermomechanics model which will help to predict residual stress and distortion in 3D printed metal parts. Once that phase of the research is complete, the engineers will then work on devising a topology optimization system that will be capable of generating 3D designs with both free-form and machining-friendly surfaces,
Read the full article here.