3D printing is exciting and will change the world, but not in its current state where only plastic can be printed at home. That's why the 3D Welder is an exciting project, able to 3D print metal.
A team of students from the Delft University of Technology have created their own metal 3D printer. Current professional grade metal 3D printers cost at least £650,000, but like plastic 3D printers we can expect a home-friendly priced version here soon thanks to projects like this.
The 3D Welder uses a normal 3D printer in the Prusa i3 with a MIG welder attached to the extruder end. A MIG welder feeds metal wire to the end where it is melted to bond with the metal structure. The result is similar to plastic 3D printers only this is solidifying metal into a printed shape.
The 3D Welder is able to print at a rate of 300mm per minute, which sounds pretty good. But if you go pro grade you're looking at 3,000 to 18,000mm per minute. But at those crazy prices that's what you'd expect.
Unlike professional 3D printers, which require dangerous lasers, produce harmful fumes and cost ridiculous amounts, this 3D Welder could finally make 3D printing metal at home a possibility.
Now we just need multiple extruders for plastic and metal combinations and the possibilities are huge. Of course the metal resolution will need to improve but that just takes time. The 3D printing revolution is well and truly here.