West Australian start-up Aurora Labs today releases their metal 3D printer for the consumer market on Kickstarter.
Aurora Labs' S1 consumer grade printer offers aerospace grade 3D printing - down to the resolution of half a human hair (50 microns) - for under $4000. The S1 features a build volume of 150 x 150 x 250 mm (6'x6'x10') and currently is capable of printing objects in stainless steel and nickel based alloys.
The process works by feeding metal powder into a high energy beam heating the powder to around 1600 Celsius where it melts. The printer lays down molten metal layer by layer to produce the product.
"With this machine people can build a 10,000 pound (4,500 kg) thrust rocket motor – for about the price of a plasma TV ($500-$1,000) in materials." notes the team on Kickstarter page.
"Affordable 3D metal printing means we are on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution. The list of what we can make is literally endless, from car parts to tools to rocket motors," said Aurora managing director David Budge.
To make the S1, Mr Budge assembled a team of welders, computer scientists, physicists and engineers. His own interest lies in robotic manufacturing and exotic welding systems. The machine combines techniques used in CNC machining, automated welding and robotic welding. The breakthrough in price has been made possible through use of robot manufacturing processes and proprietary new technology developed in-house. The S1 can print multiple metals at the same time, and Aurora Labs expects to be able to print ceramics and plastics as well.
The team is launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 to bring the S1 to market. The first 25 early backers would receive this S1 3D printer and 5kg of 316 stainless steel for AUD$4,499 (USD3,995). Check out more info here on Kickstarter.
"For me, this project is about creativity in its purest form. We are creating something that will allow people to create amazing things," said Mr Budge.
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