Other than the fact that Stratasys – like GE, HP and Desktop Metal – is set on introducing a bound powder metal 3D printing technology we did not know much about the characteristics that the actual AM process would have. Now we have seen the first parts made with Stratasys’ new metal 3D printer. At the same time, Desktop Metal is also showing off the first metal parts that came out of its Production system.
We do know quite a lot more about Desktop Metal’s technology targeted at metal part production. For example, we know that its breakthrough Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) process is expected to deliver speeds up to 8200 cm3/hr–100x faster than laser-based systems. We also expect that it will be MIM powder based and that it is expected to support a wide selection of metals including 316L and 17-4 PH Stainless steel, as well as H13 Tool Steel, Inconel 625 (a nickel-based superalloy) 4140 Copper. Development alloys include several types of steel, as well as titanium. Overall costs are expected to be up to 20X lower than current PBF technologies.
What we do know about the new Stratasys technology is that it should be an inkjet-based process and that Stratasys has made strategic investments in both Desktop Metal and LPW, a major AM powder manufacturer. Stratasys also owns polyjet technology – possibly one of the most advanced current inkjet-based technologies – and the company is conveniently located near XJet – another developer of advanced inkjet 3D printing technologies for ceramics and metals (the company’s shared many executives, including Objet co-founder, and now XJet founder Hanan Gothait.
And now we also know that unfinished 3D printed parts look like this: