Can 3D Printers Print Metal?
Yes, 3D printers can print metal. For many years, most metal 3D printing technologies have operated with expensive and hazardous powders while others require multiple processing steps that result in part shrinkage – making it difficult to produce accurate and reliable parts.
Traditional 3D printers in commercial use have used expensive feedstock such as powders or resins to create parts, but have not printed metal parts from molten metal. Unlike older 3D printers that relied on powders, the Xerox® ElemX™ liquid metal printer uses readily available metal alloys to 3D print metal parts complex enough to suit your needs.
What Metals Can be Used in 3D Printing?
Traditional 3D printers have used steel, aluminum, titanium, and other metals in powder form to print parts. But there are safety risks associated with powder-based printing. The Xerox® ElemX™ 3D printer produces high quality metal parts using aluminum wires safely and efficiently, while also shortening production cycle times and reducing printing costs.
How Does a 3D Liquid Metal Printer Work?
The Xerox® ElemX™ 3D liquid metal printer uses off-the-shelf aluminum wire as feed stock. The printer melts aluminum wire and deposits 400 droplets per second onto a build plate. The build plate rapidly moves under the drop stream according to directions from the proprietary software running the printer to complete the shape. Once the part is finished, the build plate is removed from the printer and quickly quenched in a in a water tank. The thermal expansion mechanics of the differing metals allows the aluminum parts to immediately release from the build plate, with no sintering, debinding, or additional steps necessary.
The Xerox® ElemX™ is simple and safe to use, producing high-quality high-strength parts when you need them. But how much does a metal 3D printer cost? And how can it help your business become less reliant on fragile supply chains? Contact a Xerox representative today for pricing and to find out more about how the Xerox® ElemX™ 3D printer can make your business more resilient.
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