Metal 3D printing - Check this out

(Chris Small) #1

I’m partway through writing a grant application to establish a small foundry at MHV. As it turns out, I had envisaged a grant of $5000 but this 3D metal printer looks really interesting - they’re asking $5000 as a reservation fee - (sounds like the glowforge crowd-funding thing and could be complementary to it and the lathe/mill). Anyway, this product looks impressive. Not sure if the microwave-enhanced furnace is covered in the cost but I’m thinking it might be worth changing tack on my grant application and look at this instead. Any thoughts? (I can think of at least half a dozen compelling arguments for this product in favour of a foundry for a number of reasons.)

(Derryn Harvie) #2

Looks like an interesting end product, there’s an Australian startup doing metal SLS printer as well.

However, given the number of 3D printer related crowd funding failures we’ve seen over the last couple of years, I personally would be very wary of anything that wasn’t able to be bought “off the shelf” and required some sort of pre-order. YMMV though.

(David Lyon) #3

The only problem with 3D printing of metal is that often an additional forging process is needed after that. I guess it depends on what you’re trying to make.

Due to other commitments I missed the last casting day.

I have my own casting furnace that I would like to get going but don’t know what to do to get it to work. I just can’t guess what it needs. It was running on charcoal but I’d like to convert it to gas.

So if there is another casting day on sometime I’d like to attend and find out how to do this casting of aluminium as well.

(Chris Small) #4

Yeah, I like a cautious approach. And the cost blowout is in my mind, too.:wink:

(Chris Small) #5

Happy to run another one. I’m tied up this weekend but I can plan another soonish. Maybe early spring on a -hopefully nice - Saturday morning. The last casting I produced was the headstock casting. I had a large, full pot of metal and the pot burnt through, same as at the last demo I ran. It was probably the most unnerving pour I’ve ever had to deal with. I can’t have that happen, again, especially not in a public place. I need to work something out that’s safer - nothing beats a proper crucible and matching shank. It’s all money, though, right.

Gas is good and convenient. Constructing a burner is reasonably straight forward, especially if you have access to a drill press and the tools/materials to be able to silver solder. A regulator is desirable (and probably advisable) - I just make do with a needle valve to control the gas flow. There’s a lot of info (zoeller forge, mongo burner, Ron Weil’s burners, Z-burner, Make it Extreme, etc) on constructing burners but it’s mostly American and it can be challenging to find the same parts.