Skip to comments.3-D printing with metals achieved (kinda)
Posted on 06/10/2015 1:19:23 PM PDT by Red Badger
A team of researchers from the University of Twente has found a way to 3D print structures of copper and gold, by stacking microscopically small metal droplets. These droplets are made by melting a thin metal film using a pulsed laser. Their work is published on Advanced Materials.
3D printing is a rapidly advancing field, that is sometimes referred to as the 'new cornerstone of the manufacturing industry'. However, at present, 3D printing is mostly limited to plastics. If metals could be used for 3D printing as well, this would open a wide new range of possibilities. Metals conduct electricity and heat very well, and they're very robust. Therefore, 3D printing in metals would allow manufacturing of entirely new devices and components, such as small cooling elements or connections between stacked chips in smartphones.
However, metals melt at a high temperature. This makes controlled deposition of metal droplets highly challenging. Thermally robust nozzles are required to process liquid metals, but these are hardly available. For small structures in particular (from 100 nanometres to 10 micrometres) no good solutions for this problem existed yet.
Researchers from FOM and the University of Twente now made a major step towards high-resolution metal printing. They used laser light to melt copper and gold into micrometre-sized droplets and deposited these in a controlled manner. In this method, a pulsed laser is focused on a thin metal film. that locally melts and deforms into a flying drop. The researchers then carefully position this drop onto a substrate. By repeating the process, a 3D structure is made. For example, the researchers stacked thousands of drops to form micro-pillars with a height of 2 millimetres and a diameter of 5 micrometres. They also printed vertical electrodes in a cavity, as well as lines of copper. In effect, virtually any shape can be printed by smartly choosing the location of the drop impact.
In this study, the researchers used a surprisingly high laser energy in comparison to earlier work, to increase the impact velocity of the metal droplets. When these fast droplets impact onto the substrate, they deform into a disk shape and solidify in that form. The disk shape is essential for a sturdy 3D print: it allows the researchers to firmly stack the droplets on top of each other. In previous attempts, physicists used low laser energies. This allowed them to print smaller drops, but the drops stayed spherical, which meant that a stack of solidified droplets was less stable.
In their article, the researchers explain which speed is required to achieve the desired drop shape. They had previously predicted this speed for different laser energies and materials. This means that the results can be readily translated to other metals as well.
One remaining problem is that the high laser energy also results in droplets landing on the substrate next to the desired location. At present this cannot be prevented. In future work the team will investigate this effect, to enable clean printing with metals, gels, pastas or extremely thick fluids.
A copper micro-pillar with a height of 0.86 millimetres and a width of 0.005 millimetres. The pillar is formed from drops that had a diameter of 0.001 millimetres. With this technique, more complex shapes can also be printed.
Um, you can get 3D printing done in Aluminum. I know - I’ve order parts made that way for a project.
It was probably 3D laser sintering.......................
"Dr. Smith and Will find the wreckage of an alien spaceship
and a mysterious machine that creates anything they wish for.
Word of the magical machine reaches the Robinsons who want to
use the device as well, but their eventual greed forces the Professor
to get rid of it. Refusing to destroy it, Smith takes it back to the alien
ship, but there he summons a servant to tend to his needs. The machine
instead conjures a menacing mummy-like creature who tries to take the
where can you get that made? I need something made in aluminum
-— Um, you can get 3D printing done in Aluminum. -—
Aluminum is the only plastic metal, so it has limited value in load bearing situations.
Metallurgy is an enormous science. I can’t imagine how a “printer” that simply deposits molten metal in layers could possibly reproduce the complex ways that steel and other metals are heat-treated, forged and work-hardened.
Selective Metal Sintering has been done for what, 15 years now? But that dosen’t feed the 3DHype machine.
what episode was that? I vaguely remember that as being one of the scariest things from my childhood
This is using copper and is more targeted to the Semiconductor Industry..................
How does the strength of a 3Dprinted/layered structure compare against cast aluminum?
“Wish Upon a Star”
It’ll play after a 1-min commercial.
Probably not as strong, IMHO, but strength isn’t always a factor..................
The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.
The component was manufactured using selective laser melting. This method built up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder to make the complex, subscale injector with its 28 elements for channeling and mixing propellants. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines. It was similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for deep space human missions to an asteroid and Mars.The key is how easy it is to print the model (i.e. how much setup is involved). I expect that will only continue to improve with time.
"This entire effort helped us learn what it takes to build larger 3-D parts -- from design, to manufacturing, to testing," said Greg Barnett, the lead engineer for the project. "This technology can be applied to any of SLS's engines, or to rocket components being built by private industry."
It's tough to overhype as potentially disruptive of a technology as 3D printing.
It’s going to be interesting to live through the “oops” moment when Generation XBox discovers that China has no intention of machining replacement parts, that an XBox can’t just print them, that Americans no longer have the machining skills (or machines) to do it themselves... and that they are at war with enemies who do.
“Its going to be interesting to live through the oops moment when Generation XBox discovers that China has no intention of machining replacement parts, that an XBox cant just print them, that Americans no longer have the machining skills (or machines) to do it themselves... and that they are at war with enemies who do.”
It’s not going to happen. :-)
Manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence in the US, and there are plenty of good engineers here. Even young ones...
It’s ironic that you mention printing them on Xbox. Robotics and automation are the key technologies.
>>Its ironic that you mention printing them on Xbox. Robotics and automation are the key technologies.
And the Chinese know it.
What percentage of Generation XBox’s circuit boards are Hecho en the USA?
“And the Chinese know it.”
Everyone knows it. It is causing an economic crisis in China though, as fewer Chinese will be needed in the factories over time. Many have already been laid off.
“What percentage of Generation XBoxs circuit boards are Hecho en the USA?”
Most consumer electronics boards are fabbed in the Far East, as that’s the cheapest source right now. For higher end applications (military, space etc.) there’s a thriving industry here in the US.
Try this search in Google:
This list of semiconductor fab plants is also interesting:
I was actually surprised at how many are here in the States. Of course Intel is a major player, but there are many others. Samsung even has one of its very large plants here in Austin.
Ask yourself “How much actual innovation has come from outside the US?”. The answer is “not very much”.
The main area of concern for me isn’t tech, but instead heavy industry like steel production. We need to find a way to manufacture all the strategic materials we need here. Automation and smarter techniques will play a big part.
>>Ask yourself How much actual innovation has
>>come from outside the US?. The answer is
>>not very much.
Oh, the Clintons were certainly “innovative” in their redistribution of America’s tech advantage.
How many American lathe / machine manfuacturers are there today?
The Mini-Lathe and Mill in my shop were both hecho’d en China - as are most of the tooling components available for same.
The rampup for WWII involved producing machines to produce machines, and that required skills that are no longer being taught — at least not in Amerika.
Last I heard around the donut table at church, the managerial frat-punks were being tapped for production in the far-east...
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