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The Metalbot Project

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  • quazga
    http://www.metalbot.org These guys have done a nice job at creating a basic platform for creating an open source 3D printer for metals. Looks like they re
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
      http://www.metalbot.org

      These guys have done a nice job at creating a basic platform for creating an open source 3D printer for metals. Looks like they're going to try to tackle DMLS. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves!
    • Graham Stabler
      Nice idea but there are simply no low cost lasers that will work with metals so they will need a different tactic. Graham
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
        Nice idea but there are simply no low cost lasers that will work with metals so they will need a different tactic.

        Graham


        On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM, quazga <quazga@...> wrote:
         

        http://www.metalbot.org

        These guys have done a nice job at creating a basic platform for creating an open source 3D printer for metals. Looks like they're going to try to tackle DMLS. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves!


      • quazga
        ... What is your idea of low cost? I think an entire system with a small build volume and a 90 watt CO2 laser that would operate at moderate speed could be
        Message 3 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
          > Nice idea but there are simply no low cost lasers that will work with
          > metals so they will need a different tactic.
          >
          > Graham

          What is your idea of low cost?

          I think an entire system with a small build volume and a 90 watt CO2 laser that would operate at moderate speed could be home built for under $1500 US.

          I don't think hardware is the issue, I think the main problem to solve would be the in putting together the software. There is already open source software available covering each aspect of DMLS machine operation, it's just finding someone competent enough to tie it all together.
        • Terence Tam
          SLS machines have heated build volumes, to prevent warping. The laser only raises the temperature a few degrees to transition it from solid to molten. The
          Message 4 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
            SLS machines have heated build volumes, to prevent warping.  The laser only raises the temperature a few degrees to transition it from solid to molten.  The power requirements on the laser therefore may be a lot lower than one would expect.

            -=- Terence

            --
            --

            Terence Tak-Shing Tam (譚德成)   |  terence@... | blog.OpenBeamUSA.com
          • Graham
            That might be true for sls for plastics but don t see it for metals, are they really held close to the melting point? Graham ... That might be true for sls for
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
              That might be true for sls for plastics but don't see it for metals, are they really held close to the melting point?

              Graham



              On 26 Apr 2013, at 22:18, Terence Tam <ttstam@...> wrote:

               

              SLS machines have heated build volumes, to prevent warping.  The laser only raises the temperature a few degrees to transition it from solid to molten.  The power requirements on the laser therefore may be a lot lower than one would expect.

              -=- Terence

              --
              --

              Terence Tak-Shing Tam (譚德成)   |  terence@... | blog.OpenBeamUSA.com

            • Graham
              A 90w co2 laser won t be enough for metal IMHO you can only just cut thin foils, can t see it doing much sintering. Metals are highly reflective to 10.6 Graham
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013
                A 90w co2 laser won't be enough for metal IMHO you can only just cut thin foils, can't see it doing much sintering. Metals are highly reflective to 10.6

                Graham



                On 26 Apr 2013, at 22:11, "quazga" <quazga@...> wrote:

                 



                > Nice idea but there are simply no low cost lasers that will work with
                > metals so they will need a different tactic.
                >
                > Graham

                What is your idea of low cost?

                I think an entire system with a small build volume and a 90 watt CO2 laser that would operate at moderate speed could be home built for under $1500 US.

                I don't think hardware is the issue, I think the main problem to solve would be the in putting together the software. There is already open source software available covering each aspect of DMLS machine operation, it's just finding someone competent enough to tie it all together.

              • Ben Mahony
                I have some experience with laser cutting. A 120w C02 yag laser will not even Mark steel or aluminum with oroptics but the same optics and same design of
                Message 7 of 21 , Apr 26, 2013

                  I have some experience with laser cutting.   A 120w C02 yag laser will not even Mark steel or aluminum with oroptics but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm steel.  I guess their is a point were you suddenly over come the heart dissipation?  Also alluminium if you don't hit it hard enough gets a reflective meniscus that shoots the beam back into the laser cavity and  disrupts the resonance,  so it losses all power.   BUT with powder melting the powder can be pre heated and the laser only needs to add the last bit of focused heat so the heat dissipation will be less of an issue.

                  So maybe a low cost glass cavity CO2 laser will work? 
                  In regard to budget I think 6000usd would be very cheap.
                  Ben M

                  On 27/04/2013 7:11 AM, "quazga" <quazga@...> wrote:
                   



                  > Nice idea but there are simply no low cost lasers that will work with
                  > metals so they will need a different tactic.
                  >
                  > Graham

                  What is your idea of low cost?

                  I think an entire system with a small build volume and a 90 watt CO2 laser that would operate at moderate speed could be home built for under $1500 US.

                  I don't think hardware is the issue, I think the main problem to solve would be the in putting together the software. There is already open source software available covering each aspect of DMLS machine operation, it's just finding someone competent enough to tie it all together.

                • Graham Stabler
                  On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM, Ben Mahony wrote: but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm steel. I guess
                  Message 8 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                    On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                     but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm steel.  I guess their is a point were you suddenly over come the heat dissipation? 

                    Steel is a special case, heating it causes it to absorb 10.6um more readily so you get a virtuous circle, you tend to add oxygen too which causes the steel to burn ahead of the cut causing the striations seen on CO2 laser cut steel. I don't think you can cut 5mm steel without oxygen and you definitely can't add oxygen to a little box full of a cloud of metal powder! :D

                    >BUT with powder melting the powder can be pre heated and the laser only needs to add the last bit of focused heat so the heat dissipation will be less of an issue.

                    This is what someone else said but for it to make any difference don't you need to basically be cutting in an oven and one much hotter than a domestic oven at that?

                    So maybe a low cost glass cavity CO2 laser will work? 

                    If you get a big enough one then perhaps but I'm not convinced it is a good choice.

                    In regard to budget I think 6000usd would be very cheap.

                    It would be interesting to see his target price.

                    Cheers,

                    Graham
                  • Ben Mahony
                    Regarding the oven, I m fairly confident that the commercial metal sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the required laser power
                    Message 9 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                      Regarding the oven,  I'm fairly confident that the commercial metal sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the required laser power but to stop warping, and yes not any thing like domestic oven temps, 2 or 3 times hotter.  

                      On 27/04/2013 5:42 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                       

                      On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                       but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm steel.  I guess their is a point were you suddenly over come the heat dissipation? 

                      Steel is a special case, heating it causes it to absorb 10.6um more readily so you get a virtuous circle, you tend to add oxygen too which causes the steel to burn ahead of the cut causing the striations seen on CO2 laser cut steel. I don't think you can cut 5mm steel without oxygen and you definitely can't add oxygen to a little box full of a cloud of metal powder! :D

                      >BUT with powder melting the powder can be pre heated and the laser only needs to add the last bit of focused heat so the heat dissipation will be less of an issue.

                      This is what someone else said but for it to make any difference don't you need to basically be cutting in an oven and one much hotter than a domestic oven at that?

                      So maybe a low cost glass cavity CO2 laser will work? 

                      If you get a big enough one then perhaps but I'm not convinced it is a good choice.

                      In regard to budget I think 6000usd would be very cheap.

                      It would be interesting to see his target price.

                      Cheers,

                      Graham
                    • Croonen
                      But I know places and people who do that but for metals I would be use a box that is close and put argon gas in it for to prevent the oxydise of the metal. my
                      Message 10 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                        But I know places and people who do that but for metals I would be use a box that is close and put argon gas in it for to prevent the oxydise of the metal. my idea was to made it whit a micro plasma welding machine i have it but I have to try it once.
                        benny

                        --- In diy_3d_printing_and_fabrication@yahoogroups.com, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Regarding the oven, I'm fairly confident that the commercial metal
                        > sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the
                        > required laser power but to stop warping, and yes not any thing like
                        > domestic oven temps, 2 or 3 times hotter.
                        > On 27/04/2013 5:42 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > **
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                        > > but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm
                        > > steel. I guess their is a point were you suddenly over come the heat
                        > > dissipation?
                        > >
                        > > Steel is a special case, heating it causes it to absorb 10.6um more
                        > > readily so you get a virtuous circle, you tend to add oxygen too which
                        > > causes the steel to burn ahead of the cut causing the striations seen on
                        > > CO2 laser cut steel. I don't think you can cut 5mm steel without oxygen and
                        > > you definitely can't add oxygen to a little box full of a cloud of metal
                        > > powder! :D
                        > >
                        > > >BUT with powder melting the powder can be pre heated and the laser only
                        > > needs to add the last bit of focused heat so the heat dissipation will be
                        > > less of an issue.
                        > >
                        > > This is what someone else said but for it to make any difference don't you
                        > > need to basically be cutting in an oven and one much hotter than a domestic
                        > > oven at that?
                        > >
                        > >> So maybe a low cost glass cavity CO2 laser will work?
                        > >>
                        > > If you get a big enough one then perhaps but I'm not convinced it is a
                        > > good choice.
                        > >
                        > >> In regard to budget I think 6000usd would be very cheap.
                        > >>
                        > > It would be interesting to see his target price.
                        > >
                        > > Cheers,
                        > >
                        > > Graham
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • Croonen
                        I get in my plasma arc about 14000-24000kelvin
                        Message 11 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                          I get in my plasma arc about 14000-24000kelvin



                          --- In diy_3d_printing_and_fabrication@yahoogroups.com, "Croonen" <plasmaboog@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > But I know places and people who do that but for metals I would be use a box that is close and put argon gas in it for to prevent the oxydise of the metal. my idea was to made it whit a micro plasma welding machine i have it but I have to try it once.
                          > benny
                          >
                          > --- In diy_3d_printing_and_fabrication@yahoogroups.com, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Regarding the oven, I'm fairly confident that the commercial metal
                          > > sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the
                          > > required laser power but to stop warping, and yes not any thing like
                          > > domestic oven temps, 2 or 3 times hotter.
                          > > On 27/04/2013 5:42 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > > **
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@> wrote:
                          > > > but the same optics and same design of laser but 250w will cut 5mm
                          > > > steel. I guess their is a point were you suddenly over come the heat
                          > > > dissipation?
                          > > >
                          > > > Steel is a special case, heating it causes it to absorb 10.6um more
                          > > > readily so you get a virtuous circle, you tend to add oxygen too which
                          > > > causes the steel to burn ahead of the cut causing the striations seen on
                          > > > CO2 laser cut steel. I don't think you can cut 5mm steel without oxygen and
                          > > > you definitely can't add oxygen to a little box full of a cloud of metal
                          > > > powder! :D
                          > > >
                          > > > >BUT with powder melting the powder can be pre heated and the laser only
                          > > > needs to add the last bit of focused heat so the heat dissipation will be
                          > > > less of an issue.
                          > > >
                          > > > This is what someone else said but for it to make any difference don't you
                          > > > need to basically be cutting in an oven and one much hotter than a domestic
                          > > > oven at that?
                          > > >
                          > > >> So maybe a low cost glass cavity CO2 laser will work?
                          > > >>
                          > > > If you get a big enough one then perhaps but I'm not convinced it is a
                          > > > good choice.
                          > > >
                          > > >> In regard to budget I think 6000usd would be very cheap.
                          > > >>
                          > > > It would be interesting to see his target price.
                          > > >
                          > > > Cheers,
                          > > >
                          > > > Graham
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • Graham Stabler
                          I seriously doubt it, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88BPmL8cGAo At 1:38 you can see inside the chamber along where there is a stepper motor and a
                          Message 12 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                            I seriously doubt it, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88BPmL8cGAo

                            At 1:38 you can see inside the chamber along where there is a stepper motor and a fluorescent light fitting and a belt drive, this is no oven.

                            Graham


                            On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                            Regarding the oven,  I'm fairly confident that the commercial metal sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the required laser power but to stop warping, and yes not any thing like domestic oven temps, 2 or 3 times hotter.  


                          • Graham Stabler
                            I ve been thinking for a while that electricity might be the way to get enough heat to melt metals for low cost SLS style printing, the main issue with a
                            Message 13 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                              I've been thinking for a while that electricity might be the way to get enough heat to melt metals for low cost SLS style printing, the main issue with a plasma torch is the compressed gas used to create the plasma, it would blow all of the powder away. May be that could be solved by sort of gluing the powder together first with a glue much weaker than the weld the torch would produce.

                              Graham


                              On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Croonen <plasmaboog@...> wrote:
                               

                              I get in my plasma arc about 14000-24000kelvin


                            • Ben Mahony
                              Got to agree with you there. No oven Different to other videos I have seen. Noticed they mentioned 200w fibre laser, so that is a good starting point.
                              Message 14 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                                Got to agree with you there. No oven  Different to other videos I have seen.  Noticed they mentioned 200w fibre laser,  so that is a good starting point.

                                On 27/04/2013 9:17 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                                 

                                I seriously doubt it, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88BPmL8cGAo

                                At 1:38 you can see inside the chamber along where there is a stepper motor and a fluorescent light fitting and a belt drive, this is no oven.

                                Graham


                                On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                                Regarding the oven,  I'm fairly confident that the commercial metal sintering 3d printers do heat the build area, not only to reduce the required laser power but to stop warping, and yes not any thing like domestic oven temps, 2 or 3 times hotter.  


                              • Graham Stabler
                                There is another process where they bond the metal particles like a zcorp and then infuse with bronze in an oven, perhaps that is where the idea came from or
                                Message 15 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                                  There is another process where they bond the metal particles like a zcorp and then infuse with bronze in an oven, perhaps that is where the idea came from or perhaps other machines do use that trick, I think the ones processing plastics do.

                                  One video mentions a 100W laser, again it will be a Yag of some sort. That might be a base line, metal absorbs that wavelength better I think but I don't know of any laser of that sort that does not cost a fortune. You could argue that if a cheap CO2 would do the job they would use it, I think they do with the plastic SLS machines, but that's no proof of course.

                                  Just trying not to be too much of a negative nancy, happy to be found wrong, will be building one if I am :)

                                  Graham


                                  On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                                  Got to agree with you there. No oven  Different to other videos I have seen.  Noticed they mentioned 200w fibre laser,  so that is a good starting point.
                                • Ben Mahony
                                  I have a 50w synrad 48 series all metal cavity C02 10um wave length laser and have access to a similar 250w metal cutting laser but as was pointed out before,
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                                    I have a 50w synrad 48 series all metal cavity C02 10um wave length laser and have access to a similar 250w metal cutting laser but as was pointed out before, metal cutting with air or oxygen assist but if any one has a source for powdered steel in small quantities,  I could easily do some test fires, could easily do some inert gas tests as well.
                                    Ben M.

                                    On 27/04/2013 9:35 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    There is another process where they bond the metal particles like a zcorp and then infuse with bronze in an oven, perhaps that is where the idea came from or perhaps other machines do use that trick, I think the ones processing plastics do.

                                    One video mentions a 100W laser, again it will be a Yag of some sort. That might be a base line, metal absorbs that wavelength better I think but I don't know of any laser of that sort that does not cost a fortune. You could argue that if a cheap CO2 would do the job they would use it, I think they do with the plastic SLS machines, but that's no proof of course.

                                    Just trying not to be too much of a negative nancy, happy to be found wrong, will be building one if I am :)

                                    Graham


                                    On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                                    Got to agree with you there. No oven  Different to other videos I have seen.  Noticed they mentioned 200w fibre laser,  so that is a good starting point.
                                  • Graham Stabler
                                    I can lend you a file :) Otherwise if nobody pipes up then ebay might be worth a look just make sure it is not a potential bomb ingredient unless you want to
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                                      I can lend you a file :) Otherwise if nobody pipes up then ebay might be worth a look just make sure it is not a potential bomb ingredient unless you want to be on a list.

                                      I have the same 50W synrad actually, what a slab it is!

                                      Graham


                                      On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:

                                      if any one has a source for powdered steel in small quantities, 

                                    • Ben Mahony
                                      Shit. There you go for lateral thinking! I thought of the dust under the pedastal grinder but quickly dismissed it as heat oxidation effected but did not
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                                        Shit.  There you go for lateral thinking!  I thought of the dust under the pedastal grinder but quickly dismissed it as heat oxidation effected but did not make the logical step to cold filings.   Really should give it a go! Have you tried with your 50w'er? Ben M
                                        P.s. is steel powder used in explosives?  Usually aluminum right?  Though I guess steel oxidizes well enough. 

                                        On 27/04/2013 9:54 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                                         

                                        I can lend you a file :) Otherwise if nobody pipes up then ebay might be worth a look just make sure it is not a potential bomb ingredient unless you want to be on a list.

                                        I have the same 50W synrad actually, what a slab it is!

                                        Graham


                                        On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:

                                        if any one has a source for powdered steel in small quantities, 

                                      • Graham Stabler
                                        I ve fired her up plenty of times, always intended to make a cutter with it but never got a roundtooit. Recently picked up a universal laser cutter for a good
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013
                                          I've fired her up plenty of times, always intended to make a cutter with it but never got a roundtooit. Recently picked up a universal laser cutter for a good price, that has a 50W air cooled which is 1/3rd the length and a lot lighter. I'd like to perhaps use the synrad for some sort of plastic based SLS but even that sounds tricky.

                                          I think you are OK with steel. Titanium seems another common choice for these machines.

                                          Graham


                                          On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                                           

                                          Shit.  There you go for lateral thinking!  I thought of the dust under the pedastal grinder but quickly dismissed it as heat oxidation effected but did not make the logical step to cold filings.   Really should give it a go! Have you tried with your 50w'er? Ben M
                                          P.s. is steel powder used in explosives?  Usually aluminum right?  Though I guess steel oxidizes well enough. _,_._,___


                                        • Ben Mahony
                                          Sorry I did not mean have you fired it, I meant into some metal filings? I mount my synrad directly onto the head of my cnc router interchangeable with the
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                                            Sorry I did not mean have you fired it, I meant into some metal filings?
                                            I mount my synrad directly onto the head of my cnc router interchangeable with the spindle, it is lighter than my spindle,little bit taller.
                                            Only have a 8 inch tube before a cutting lens, synrad suggest a longer beam length before use but the simplicity wins out.   We checked with synrad about running the laser vertically and they said it may shorten the life of the unit by 10% but once again simplicity one.   Nice to switch between laser and route in 5 minutes.

                                            Ben M

                                            On 27/04/2013 10:06 PM, "Graham Stabler" <grezmos@...> wrote:
                                             

                                            I've fired her up plenty of times, always intended to make a cutter with it but never got a roundtooit. Recently picked up a universal laser cutter for a good price, that has a 50W air cooled which is 1/3rd the length and a lot lighter. I'd like to perhaps use the synrad for some sort of plastic based SLS but even that sounds tricky.

                                            I think you are OK with steel. Titanium seems another common choice for these machines.

                                            Graham


                                            On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:
                                             

                                            Shit.  There you go for lateral thinking!  I thought of the dust under the pedastal grinder but quickly dismissed it as heat oxidation effected but did not make the logical step to cold filings.   Really should give it a go! Have you tried with your 50w'er? Ben M
                                            P.s. is steel powder used in explosives?  Usually aluminum right?  Though I guess steel oxidizes well enough. _,_._,___


                                          • Graham Stabler
                                            ... Sorry, not reading carefully. No I have not tried it, I would have mentioned it, also I don t want to bother. ... You must have a very big router! ... I
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Apr 27, 2013

                                              On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM, Ben Mahony <ben.mahony@...> wrote:

                                              Sorry I did not mean have you fired it, I meant into some metal filings?

                                              Sorry, not reading carefully. No I have not tried it, I would have mentioned it, also I don't want to bother.

                                              I mount my synrad directly onto the head of my cnc router interchangeable with the spindle, it is lighter than my spindle,little bit taller.

                                              You must have a very big router! 

                                              Only have a 8 inch tube before a cutting lens, synrad suggest a longer beam length before use but the simplicity wins out.   We checked with synrad about running the laser vertically and they said it may shorten the life of the unit by 10% but once again simplicity one.   Nice to switch between laser and route in 5 minutes.


                                              I think you get best results with a beam expander but they are not exactly cheap. I have a lot of Parker actuators with brushless servos to make make a really nice router, I had considered adding some flying mirrors in housings with shutters to keep the dust out so I could mix techniques but it's just on the long list of things I might do.

                                              Graham
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