World’s largest 3D metal printer unveiled in Melbourne

By Galia Ilan

The Melbourne-based startup, Titomic, has revealed what they claim is the world’s largest 3D metal printer in Australia’s southern coastal city.

The 3D printer will be used with titanium to produce items such as bike frames, golf clubs, and ship hulls.

Titomic listed it’s shares at 20¢ (US$0.15) in September last year, which has raised to $2.80 (US$2.10) earlier this month.

However, rather than using melted titanium through a spray as most 3D printers would, the technology will use kinetic fusion to create the layers.

Powder particles of titanium will be thrown together at speeds of approximately 1km a second, with particles hitting each other at such forced they solidify together.

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If functional, kinetic fusion printing would be more time efficient than traditional additive manufacturing, whilst also being able to print products on larger scales.

However, the printer is yet to be proven effective Director of RMIT’s Centre for Additive Manufcaturing, Professor Milan Brant, explains.

“There are lots of challenges. If you’re talking about structural applications, there has to be significant work done to prove this technology is capable of delivering the same performance as conventionally machined product,” Brant notes.

“What happens between individual layers? Do you get good enough bonding – are the parts 100 per cent dense? That will effect components subject to fatigue.”

“The physics of it are still not quite clear, to be honest,” he adds.

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