Greg Mark, Markforged’s CEO, explained the brand-new form of additive manufacturing his company developed specifically for the Metal X system. “Metal X 3D prints with a process similar to atomic diffusion bonding, resulting in what Markforged refers to as atomic diffusion additive manufacturing (ADAM). ADAM involves 3D printing with bound-powder rods, in which metal powder is contained within a plastic binder. A cartridge of these rods feeds the material to the printer, which prints the object layer by layer, melting the plastic and fusing it to the preceding layer.”
Mark elaborates: “basically, we looked at the way our continuous fiber works. Our continuous fiber is continuous strands of carbon fiber wrapped in plastic. Then you basically remelt that plastic when you’re printing it. So, we did the same thing with metal. We have a metal powder – which is by itself toxic and flammable – we infiltrated it with plastic, which makes it safe to breathe, safe to handle, and nonflammable.”
“The Metal X 3D printer is described by Markforged as the first metal 3D printer priced under $100,000…most metal 3D printers are well above that price point. The layer resolution of the system, 50 microns, is comparable to most powder bed fusion metal 3D printers. Parts are between 95 and 99 percent dense, depending on the furnace used to sinter the parts, making it competitive with direct metal laser sintering systems.”
The Metal X 3D printer “has a substantial build volume of 250mm x 220mm x 200 mm (9.8 in x 9.7 in x 7.9 in), includes a built-in camera, and runs on the Markforged cloud-based Eiger software platform.”
The Metal X 3D printer will begin shipping in September (2017) and starts at $99,500.
Video and Image Courtesy of Markforged
Quotes Courtesy of Engineering