Desktop Metal has made its third announcement of the month at Formnext today: the launch of “the world’s first metal binder jetting system designed for machine shops.” The new additive manufacturing system is fittingly called the Shop System and is available starting at $150,000.
Since its conception, Desktop Metal has been about developing 3D printing technologies that are of a high standard and are accessible. The company’s first system, the Studio System, was the first office-friendly desktop metal 3D printer to hit the market. Now, Desktop Metal is aiming to provide shop owners with a binder jetting system that can be used to produce end-use metal parts in an efficient way.
Introducing the Shop System
As a high-speed, single-pass printing system built for the shop floor, the Shop System rounds out the Desktop Metal metal AM offering. It now includes the Studio System, which was built for low volume prototyping; the Production System, for mass production; and the Shop System, for mid-volume production runs.
“Since the launch of our metal 3D printing platforms, Studio System and Production System, Desktop Metal has changed the rules of traditional metal manufacturing solutions with innovative approaches that reduce costs and significantly increase speed and print quality for our customers,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder, Desktop Metal. “Our current technology has significantly disrupted low- and high-volume production in metal manufacturing, yet there was still a real need for a robust solution that also captures mid-volume production and enables affordable, reliable and flexible batch production of complex parts for machine shops. For the first time with the Shop System, machine shops will be able to make that a reality.”
The Shop System comprises an end-to-end solution, including the 3D printer, powder station and sintering furnace. The all-in-one solution can be easily integrated into existing shop environments, providing the ability to rapidly produce end-use metal components for the manufacturing, tooling, automotive, consumer, electronics and marine industries, to name a few. Desktop Metal emphasizes the quality of printed products, saying their finish and tolerances can “co-exist” within machining.
Speed and resolution
In terms of speed, the Shop System binder jetting technology can reportedly complete parts at ten times the speed (and at a fraction of the cost). For example, the Shop System can print a batch of complex parts every 6-12 hours, which means that up to hundreds of near-net-shape metal parts can be printed a day (the equivalent of up to 70 kg of steel a day).
The speed achieved with the Shop System is in part because parts are printed while being supported in their powder bed and have removable sintering setters. This translates to much faster post-processing compared to more traditional laser-based systems.
The Shop System is also notable for its resolution. According to Desktop Metal, it is the “highest resolution single pass binder jetting printing system on the market,” with a spot size of 16 microns per drop, 1600 native single pass DPI and the ability to distribute up to 670 millions drops per second. Compared to other single pass binder jetting systems, the company says the Shop System has 33% higher resolution.
The printer also boasts the smallest droplet size for a single pass binder jetting system (about 1pL) and automated drop multiplexing of up to 6pL. Moreover, the system has 70,000 nozzles per line with a built in redundancy 25% highest than competing systems. This feature reduces the risk of jet-outs and improves print reliability. Finally, the system integrates a recoating system that enables the construction of high accuracy parts.
Shop System availability
As mentioned, an important aspect of the Shop System (and all of Desktop Metal’s systems) is accessibility. At $150,000, the metal binder jetting 3D printer is easily one of the more accessible systems of its kind.
“Shop owners have been enamored by the versatility, speed and cost reduction that binder jetting technology can provide, but until now, it hasn’t been accessible to them,” explained Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal. “The Shop System offers users the same fully-dense metal parts at an affordable price that works in harmony with machining on the shop floor. What’s more, the system enables owners to both save and make money by eliminating tooling costs, lowering lead times, and bringing in new business because of an improved part-cost equation.”
Desktop Metal is introducing four versions of its Shop System: a 4L, 8L, 12L and 16L. As implied, each system varies in terms of its size. The 4L ($150,000) has a build volume of 350 x 220 x 50 mm, while the 16L ($225,000) has a build volume of 350 x 220 x 200 mm.
“In our business, quality and response time are critical,” said Bruce Ferguson, President and CEO of Hansford Parts & Products, a contract manufacturer of CNC machined parts. The ability to simultaneously produce multiple complex parts with no custom setups is a productivity game changer. We are looking to additive manufacturing to produce geometries unattainable with conventional machining, free up CNC capacity, and reduce part costs.”
Desktop Metal’s new Shop System will become broadly available in Fall 2020. Customers can purchase the new system as of today.