The market is presently flooded with 3D printers that cover a wide price range, right from cheap 3D printers to really expensive ones. As time has tested the versatility of these printers many developers and manufacturers are ready to test and invest on this technology because of this trend 3D printers are becoming affordable by the day. Keeping all this progress in one hand, the mass production is still on the hold. The one prime reason for this is the speed of these printers and the other is the limited access to materials. Most of the consumer level 3D printers use plastic materials like ABS or PLA.
This constriction of material usage is about to break with the help of an architect and his team, Jean-Michel Rogero (aka Kolergy) of Toulouse, France, together with his team at the Artilect Fablab, has successfully developed a 3D printer that uses metals as raw materials to print objects by adding successive layers and they have named the printer as the “StrongPrint”. The printer is still in the developing phase: the main aim of the team is to make this printer affordable and so the price would be pegged somewhere below 1000 Euros or $1400. The printer uses a welding process which is known as Tungsten inert gas or TIG and also Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing or WAAM. The process is similar to the FDM based printer, the StrongPrint uses a metal wire through the wire feed system. Rogero hopes to print the object which had layers of thickness 2mm, and a layer height of around 0.5mm.
The area of concern for this entire venture is that not all metal scan be printed. The ones that are soft like Gold and Silver are relatively easier to print on as compared to Titanium which is a very hard metal.
Image Credit: Brandy Dopkins (flickr Handle: BrandyDopkins)