New Processes Promise Safe Desktop Metal PrintingAugust 11, 2017
Crowds convened at the Desktop Metal booth during the 2017 edition of RAPID + TCT, held this past May in Pittsburgh. The promise of a revolution in 3D printing with metal was the reason why. The Burlington, MA, company unveiled and demonstrated its DM Studio and DM Production systems, using what Desktop Metal officials claim as “innovative approaches that reduce costs and significantly increase speed, safety and print quality.”
Described as “the first office-friendly metal 3D-printing system for rapid prototyping,” DM Studio is a complete platform, including both a printer and microwave-enhanced sintering furnace that, together, deliver complex geometries of metal 3D-printed parts in an engineer’s office or on the shop floor.
Unlike traditional metal 3D-printing processes, DM Studio requires no hazardous powders, no lasers and no cutting tools to operate. Instead, it employs Bound Metal Deposition (BMD), a proprietary process, to make accurate and repeatable parts, similar to the most widely used 3D-printing process for plastics, fused deposition modeling (FDM).
The DM Studio printer extrudes bound metal rods, similar to FDM printers, which eliminates safety and facility requirements associated with traditional metal 3D-printing, while enabling new features such as closed-cell infill for lightweight strength. It reportedly can produce near-net-shape metal parts, delivering the resolution and accuracy needed for functional prototyping. Sophisticated software constructs print and sinter plans for every build and material—automatically generating supports and control parameters to ensure a seamless experience from printing through sintering, according to company officials, without the need for dedicated operators. The system can print as much as 24 cu. in. per day, and maximum resolution is 50 mm.