A new patent application by Slovenian inventor Nataša Mušević has been published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), describing a novel Additive Manufacturing machine which would use magnetic or acoustic levitation to position powder materials in a volumetric printing space, with melting performed by electron beams enabling spatial melting of the powder materials.
The proposed technical solution would reportedly enable the volumetric AM of “entire objects at once”. Volumetric AM is a new term used to describe technologies in which an object is manufactured by the sequential fabrication of its volumetric parts, rather than layer-by-layer, significantly speeding up the process and reducing production time.
The newly published patent application is said to offer one of very few technical solutions known to date which enable volumetric AM. It also describes a process for the manufacturing of objects from the inside out, in order to overcome the problem of negative and overhang angles of the geometry of the object in fabrication.
The described method of fabricating an object from the inside out could widen the scope of possible geometries of objects which can be manufactured without support structures, resulting in lower material usage. The proposed solution could also bring promising benefits to AM in space, as the magnetic levitation of powder materials would be highly efficient for use in zero gravity.