The M-Flex is simple to use and contains everything you need to get started with metal printing, offering speeds 10x faster than our previous generation machine.
As tempting as it is to go straight to the bus cliché – one shall resist!
So from where do these new metal 3D printers originate?
First up there is the new M-FLEX 3D printing system from ExOne, which was launched and is currently being exhibited at the 2012 International Machine Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, running 10–15th September. But it is not all about the metal. Apparently the M-FLEX has been designed with further developments in mind, namely the ability to process tungsten, glass or ceramics as well.
According to ExOne, “the M-FLEX 3D Printing System dramatically increases the capabilities of metal 3D printing by offering more than seven times the volume output of metal machines currently in use.”
The M-FLEX is a mid-sized system that has been developed specifically for industrial applications — prototyping, casting and production. Target industries include mining, automotive and energy. The build chamber of the M-FLEX's is 400x250x250 mm with reported build speeds of 30 seconds per layer, which compares with previous build speeds of 90 seconds per layer. The complete machine system includes a printer (utilizing a proprietary print head to distribute binder into beds of specially prepared and formulated materials), recycling equipment, printing materials, a furnace and a comprehensive multimedia training program.
At time of writing there are no details on pricing or part resolution, but Personalize with be asking the questions when ExOne exhibits at TCT Live 2012 later this month.
The second metal system, announced yesterday, is the PrintRite3D system from Sigma Labs Inc. The company stated that it will release “the first module of PrintRite3D” later this month. The ‘module’ incorporates ‘a cutting-edge software and hardware suite of products that enables production of higher quality 3D-printing of metal parts for critical applications in the aerospace, defense, oil and gas, and biomedical markets.’
Again, the announcement was very light on system specifications, and no images of the system or parts were available, but the dominant focus was on improved quality of metal parts.
Both of these systems are welcome additions to the 3D printing metal space – things are going to be heating up nicely (literally and figuratively) in the run up to Euromold at the end of the year.