LightSPEE3D, a first-of-its-kind 3D metal parts printer, has been installed at Swinburne’s state-of-the-art Factory of the Future.
The Factory of the Future houses a suite of advanced visualisation and design tools that allow researchers, students and organisations to explore conceptual ideas for manufacturing next generation products.
This latest installation, developed by Australian 3D metal-printing company SPEE3D, is the first 3D metal parts printer to apply supersonic deposition, where metal particles are fired faster than the speed of sound, creating industrial quality metal parts in just minutes.
“Unlike traditional 3D printing technologies, supersonic deposition does not use heat to melt the metal particles,” explains Swinburne advanced manufacturing researcher, Associate Professor Suresh Palanisamy.
“Instead, the metal particles are sprayed at a support plate, layer by layer, through a rocket nozzle using high velocity air, allowing for a much faster build.”
Supersonic deposition is cheaper than other 3D metal manufacturing methods.
“This technology can print complex geometric parts without the need for specialised tools such as fixtures, jigs, gauges, moulds, dies and patterns”, says Associate Professor Palanisamy. “The only inputs required are computer-aided design (CAD), compressed air and metal powder.”
“This not only reduces the time needed to manufacture a part, but also the cost.”
The collaboration between the Factory of the Future and SPEE3D, will help local manufacturers create new products and become more globally competitive. It is supported by the Victorian state government and its Future Industries Sector Growth Funding Program.
Swinburne students will also have the opportunity to intern at SPEE3D to further develop their manufacturing abilities.