Weld3D Printing Process
If there was a clear trend that came out of this year’s TCT Show + Personalize is that the additive manufacturing of metal is peaking interests of large industries. 3D Systems, Concept Laser, SLM Solutions, ExOne and Renishaw all reported back to us that they had hugely impressive shows with visitors particularly keen to know more on metal printing. Newcomers Efesto went one step further, with their CEO announcing on the TCT Introducing stage that Efesto expect to do about $10m as a direct result of TCT Show.
Though each company has their own terminology for the process of additively manufacturing metals and the development of such materials, they are all variations on a theme; the printing of metal powders. These processes are, for 99% of small to medium enterprises, too expensive. We’ve seen some projects such as Newton3D, which requires prints to be fired afterwards, and Joris Laarman’s MX3D project attempt to find a new process for printing in metal.
Weld3D, started as a couple of Aerospace Engineers camped in their garage nights and weekends trying to prove a concept for metal 3D printing. After spending a significant time printing in plastic and becoming frustrated with the lack of materials they could use. When developing a large format plastic extruding 3D printer they pondered what would happen if instead of an extruder head they put an arc welder to the motors.
Months of trial and error, developing software and perfecting the process they’re beginning to showcase what could be the next big thing in metal 3D printing. The process is not dissimilar to FDM-based printing in that it is plotting out a layer of molten material and then moving up a Z axis to deposit the next layer.
Though some of the layering of the prints looks a little rudimentary there’
s a picture of a post machined part to the right that showcases how solid the Weld3D parts are.
As of yet there are no pricing details or even talk of a commercially available printer, Weld3D remain a gang of garage innovators who are looking to test their printing process out and looking for partners to help the along the way.