Gravity-Defying Robot 3D Prints Metal in Mid Air

By: | March 5th, 2014

Advances in 3D printing technology continue to dominate the news. Despite the fact that 3D printing has achieved major milestones, the technology is still in its infancy.

If you think you know all about 3D printers, get ready for a whole new concept

A Dutch designer has developed a 3D-printing robotic device to print and weld metal in mid-air. The technique allows a robot to draw free standing metal structures in mid-air. This 3D printer is built onto the frame of an industrial robot arm originally designed for welding. It combines this robotic arm with an extruder capable of feeding the print head a handful of metals.

3D printer (MX3D-Metal) prints using metal seemingly out of thin air

Metals including aluminum, bronze, copper, steel and stainless steel can all be fed to the welding equipment. It can melt and print metal horizontally, vertically, or in curves without the need for support structures.

Due to this new printing method, there is no need to start printing from a particular angle; the ‘MX3D-Metal’ printer can print regardless of whether it starts on a wall or the ground. Compared to other 3D printers, the ‘MX3D-Metal’ printer might take a longer time to print as the metal needs to be partially cooled before it can be built upon. But the fact that it can print in an almost gravity-defying state makes that extra time worth the wait.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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