Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur have developed a metal 3D printer for potential use across a range of industries like aerospace, defence, automotive, oil and gas, and general engineering, the institute said on Monday.
All the components of this metal 3D printer, except the laser and robot systems, are designed and manufactured in India. The project’s main objective is to reduce the cost of metal 3D printers and attract a broader range of users.
Despite the fact that metal 3D printing technology started a few years after the launch of polymer 3D printing, it is yet to experience the tremendous growth that the polymer 3D industry has achieved, especially in India.
The high price of the product and the more expensive proprietary metal powders imported from abroad are some of the reasons for the limited growth of metal 3D printers.
The new printer developed is suitable for repairing and adding additional material to existing components. It can print 3D parts with metal powders made in India, the researchers said.
In addition, India’s first state-of-the-art variable spot size laser optics without compromising on laser beam homogeneity for laser cladding and additive manufacturing process is available in this machine.
“Our study results show that if all the parts needed to make a metal printing machine could be manufactured indigenously, the cost of a metal 3D printing machine could be reduced by two to three times,” said Dr. Ravi K. R., Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Jodhpur, in a statement.
“Moreover, such an initiative would further strengthen the policy decisions of the Government of India under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative,” he added.