XJet, an Israeli startup company, has developed a new technique using nanotechnology, which is capable of 3D printing metals.
XJet uses nanotechnology to create special metal liquids. The specifications are transmitted using a software which renders the object exactly as envisioned by the designer. The process does not require any readjustment, as if often the case with 3D printing molds.
“We allow manufacturers to skip the mold stage, saving them huge amounts of time and money,” said XJet CEO Dror Denai. “All the specifications are made in the software, and when it’s time to print, our nano-based metals are created according to those specifications.”
The proprietary liquid metals created by XJet are modeled on the nanoparticles of certain metals, stored in a liquid solution which is encased in a tube and inserted into the printers.
Many companies involved in 3D printing use laser technology called DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) which is considerably expensive. These 3D printed parts form critical components in rockets, military jets and similar machines.
3D printing items for everyday use is very expensive. The inkjet technology that XJet is developing will enable the production of customized objects at a much cheaper rate.
Denai said that every metal requires a different process to develop and that XJet will start with stainless steel. XJet hopes to work on all major metals and expects the printers and liquid metal to be available in the market in 2016.
XJet’s technology opens up a new frontier in 3D printing, said Denai. “We could print out a titanium knee on the spot for a patient, instead of making them wait weeks for a custom design. We’ve already been speaking to a large maker of sports cars to develop unique add-ons for their high-end cars.”
“This technology could be used to print out a car made out of steel and aluminum – not a plastic one, as has been attempted in the past. Using our inkjet technology we will be able to make customized metal manufacturing affordable for even small companies.”
Image courtesy of Times of Israel/3D Printer (Pixabay)