Australian start-up SPEE3D has announced the global launch and availability of its LightSPEE3D metal 3D printer, employing the company's new, patented supersonic 3D deposition (SP3D) technology.
LightSPEE3D is SPEE3D’s first product and has been designed specifically for industrial manufacturing. As implied by the company's choice of the word ‘supersonic’, SP3D enables the printer to produce aluminum and copper parts at ultra-high speeds, specifically minutes rather than the multiple hours or days typically required for metal 3D printing. It is intended for on-demand, low-cost casting-grade parts—from brackets and manifolds to engine blocks—either as one-offs or in mass production quantities.
As oppose to using heat to melt or sinter metal powders, the SP3D process involves a rocket print nozzle that accelerates air up to three times the speed of sound and is thus claimed to ‘supersonically’ propel the injected metal powders towards the build plate. As the particles hit the substrate or underlying layer, the sheer force and resulting kinetic energy causes them to bind together, ultimately resulting in a high-density part affording normal metallurgical properties.
Another differentiator from traditional metal 3D printing technologies is that the build plate is oriented by a high-speed, six-axis robot, allowing for a high degree of scalability. Furthermore, if a larger part is required, a larger robot can be fitted.
Australia’s Charles Darwin University (CDU) has been the first customer to install the LightSPEE3D, leading to the formation of the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA), a university-industry-trade partnership between the CDU and SPEE3D that focuses on the development of real-world applications and materials for SP3D.
Commenting on the launch of the LightSPEE3D, Byron Kennedy, chief executive officer and co-founder of SPEE3D, said: ‘SPEE3D was started after I experienced the slow pace and lack of rigor in the high-cost, traditional metal 3D printing industry. In the past, users had to wait hours or even days to have a standard part delivered to them. Now, SPEE3D can print these same parts in mere minutes, on-site and in real time. This enables the accessibility of just in time production, allowing manufacturers the choice and flexibility of printing 10,000 parts or just a single part with ease.’
SPEE3D is exhibiting the LightSPEE3D at formnext powered by tct, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 14-17, 2017.