Desktop Metal's new printer follows the same design process as current 3D metal printing, layers of metal powder, wax and a plastic binding agent are sprayed out by an inkjet-like device. Upon completion of the print, the item is submerged in a debinding fluid which disolves the wax and then spends some time in a furnace to burn off the binding agent and set the powder leaving the final product between 96 and 99.8% metal. This process is currently handled much more quickly via traditional tool and die, however Desktop Metal told The Register their new printer operates at 100 times the speed of the competition and at a very competitive price to either tool and die or 3D printing. It will be interesting to see if this applies to a wide enough variety of prints and provides high enough quality to unseat the incumbent processes.
"Desktop Metal, based in Boston, USA, has opened up pre-orders for its Studio System which uses inkjet-like technology, rather than laser-based techniques, to produce precision metal parts."
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