Colido, a company that until recently only made printer ink, has been developing 3D printers for a couple of years. Nowadays they have a fairly extensive product line, including a huge delta type 3D printer.
The Colido product line has been so far focused on a range of FDM printers with polymer-based filaments. But in the CES of Las Vegas, last week, the company showed the print results of a new printer they've been secretly working on. The new machine was not shown, but they explained that it is a printer that makes metal objects and some impressions were shown.
How the Colido printer 3D prints on metal
They have developed a filament with a percentage of 90% of metal particles and the remaining 10% a plastic polymer. With this filament pieces are printed in the new and secret printer that Colido has developed to use this new material.
The pieces printed at this point contain a part of the plastic polymer contained in the filament, to complete the printing process we must only keep the part of material that is metal. To do it the printed object is subjected to high temperatures for a specified time in an oven. The time required for each object can vary depending on the metal used in the filament. In the case of stainless steel, it takes 24 hours at 1600C. During this baking the non-metallic portions of the impression are burned by the high temperature and the metallic particles fuse to form a solid and dense metallic object. The baked item shrinks approximately 19%
This process could allow metal printing at very low prices, making metal printing available to many more people and companies, however it remains to be seen if the objects printed using this technique have the quality, definition, consistency and mechanical properties of objects printed with other systems already established in the industry. .
Price and other features unknown of this novel printer, but the manufacturer has announced that in July they will start the testing phase with clients. We hope that this summer we will learn more about this amazing way of printing objects on metal.