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Metal Printing?

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The only thing I've seen done with metal and FDM printer is using solder or other low temp alloys. The results are not exactly great to put it mildly. I don't think FDM is suitable at all for metal. Professional machines use Selective Laser Sintering for metal IIRC and I doubt Ultimaker will do anything along those lines in the foreseeable future.


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I think the only metal method suitable for FDM is Metal Clay printing. I think there is a printer on kickstarter now that uses this technique. It uses precious metal clay in a syringe to extrude the layers, but after that you need to fire it in a kiln to sinter the particles together...

There a number of methods for printing metal objects, but not many of them are amateur friendly. The only one I think we might see someday is a home SLS printer.... but that's a long ways off. Some people have been experimenting with homebuilt SLS, but they are complicated and to make one that can process metals at a low enough cost is not possible yet in my opinion.

There are also some people working on homebuilt EBM printers... but these are not practical in my opinion. With EBM you have high voltage, vaccuum pumps, electron guns, radiation, etc... I've built a Fusor at home so I have some idea of what is required for EBM... and It is _possible_ for it to be done at home by a hobbyist with a lot of knowledge and skill... but it's even more complex than building you own electron microscope... I don't think we'll ever see commercially available EBM machines in the amateur price range.




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how difficult would it be to mix aluminum filing wit a binder just the way sawdust is mixed with a binder to get the wood filament, or like alumide (mix of nylon and aluminum)?

just thoughts of a noob


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