i-Scientifica 3D, located in South Africa, has developed a working prototype metal Additive Manufacturing system whereby metal parts have been printed and tested directly from CAD data. The process allows for extremely complex geometries in design, free form surfaces and completely closed hollow parts and structures to be created. It also allows for multi material metal printing and bi-metal printing at the same time.
A metal part is realised by using CAD data that is sent to a jetting device that deposits a layer of metal ink onto a substrate, the layer of metal ink is then subsequently cured/fused to form a metallic layer. The part is built up at a very high resolution ranging from Nano-meter to Micro-meter layer thickness depending on design, ink properties and type of required part resulting in a part that requires minimal post processing if any.
“Our focus has been on precious metals and we have developed and formulated several precious metal inks such as pure Gold, 18ct white/yellow and rose Gold, Pure Silver/930 Silver, Pure Palladium/950Palladium and are finalising a pure Platinum and 950Platinum ink,” stated i-Scientifica’s George Kriel. “We have also started with development of other metal inks, aluminium, stainless steel, chrome/cobalt and titanium.”
The process is not just for printing metal parts, states the company, but can also print electronics, PC boards, flexible electronics and micro parts for medical devices.
“Thus far we have bootstrapped the project are now looking to get early stage investors on board so that it can enable us to build Beta printers and further develop the metal inks before we can go to market,” added Kriel.
The company is currently located in South Africa, but is looking to relocate its main operations to the US and/or Europe, with a development office remaining in South Africa.
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