3D Printing ProcessesPatentsVolumetric 3D Printing

Slovenian inventor patents breakthrough metal powder volumetric printing

The technology, conceived of by Nataša Mušević, is one of the first to address volumetric printing for metals

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

A Slovenian inventor has been granted a national patent for a new technology that uses magnetic levitation to position powder materials in a volumetric printing space. The patent application which describes the potentially disruptive technology was also recently published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Volumetric printing, still recognized as a type of additive manufacturing, is unlike other AM technologies in that it does use use a layer-by-layer construction method. Rather, the process, also known as holographic or tomographic printing, builds parts or objects in all three dimensions at once.

3dpbm founder Davide Sher recently took an in depth look at volumetric printing and its potential impacts on the AM industry. Interestingly, one of the challenges with the technology that he highlights, adapting it for powder bed fusion, is somewhat addressed in the technology proposed by inventor Nataša Mušević.

In the technology described in Mušević’s patent, magnetic levitation is used to position powder materials in a volumetric printing space. Melting is then performed by numerous electron beams which enables the “spatial melting of powder materials.” This capability could allow for the production of whole objects at once.

Slovenian metal volumetric printing

The technology could offer an exciting new avenue for metal AM, potentially even ushering in a new era for the technology and especially metal AM. The ability to manufacture a part using the sequential fabrication of its volumetric parts, rather than the common layer-by-layer technique, could result in drastically faster production times.

The innovative volumetric technology is one of the first of its kind in that it addresses the volumetric printing of metal powders. Presently, most other volumetric printing processes being developed center on biomaterials (such as CELLINK’s Holograph-X system) and polymer resins (such as the technology developed by LLNL).

Notably, the patent also describes a way to overcome the challenges of printing negative space and overhang angles: a type of inside out printing. By manufacturing an object from the inside out, increasingly complex structures could be realized without the need for support materials—resulting in less material usage and reduced post-production.

Zavod Park, a creative technologies group based in Ljubljana that published the news of the patent, says the volumetric process could even have applications in printing in space. “The proposed solution could also bring promising benefits to 3D printing in space, as magnetic levitation of powder materials would be highly efficient for use in zero gravity,” it writes.

Ultimately, the metal volumetric technology proposed in Mušević’s patent could—if brought through to commercialization—radically impact the speed and capacity of industrial AM, laying the groundwork for a new generation of AM technologies. The full WIPO patent application can be found here.

Research 2021
Ceramic AM Market Opportunities and Trends

This market study from 3dpbm Research provides an in-depth analysis and forecast of the ceramic additive ma...

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

Related Articles

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services

STAY AHEAD

OF THE CURVE

Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*

WELCOME ON BOARD!