A startup in Melbourne, Australia, has introduced the world’s biggest 3D printer. The company in question is Titomic; they are experts in industrial scale additive manufacturing.

They boast that they also have the industry’s fastest metal 3D printing production line.

Source: Titomic

They specialize in titanium, of course. They print for an assortment of industries. They produce and manufacture metals for space ships, automobiles, skyscrapers, bicycles, military marine vessels, yachts, wheelchairs, mining equipment, and offshore oil and gas drilling stations.

Their 3D printer stands at 1.5 meters high, has an area of 9 meters and is 3 meters wide. The 3D printer can produce 45kg (99lb) of printed material per hour. Smaller machines, CEO Jeff Lang says, can only do 1kg (2.2lb) per 24 hours. The size and efficiency of Titomic’s machine is clearly second to none.

CEO of Titomic, Jeff Lang, says printing a submarine is not an impossibility in the future. He chalks that up to the way their 3D printer works. The printer prints layer by layer - like existing 3D printers on the market - but combines the materials in a more efficient way than traditional printers do.

The printer has a printing function the company has dubbed Titomic Kinetic Fusion. The process starts with a robot arm spraying titanium powder particles on a scaffold at 1km (0.62 miles) per second. These particles are sprayed so quickly that the collision fuses to the scaffolding.

In short, the process uses kinetic fusion instead of melting metals to build.

The company has begun utilizing their new fusion methods to create seamless titanium bicycle frames. They produce a new bike every 30 minutes with a smaller machine utilizing the same fusion methods the larger 3D printer employs.

The process was created in collaboration with the Australian federal scientific research agency CSIRO. Business Insider reports that the previous title owner of ‘biggest 3D printer’ was GE’s machine - which could print metal objects of up to one cubic meter. Titomic’s new printer can print parts of up to 40 cubic meters.

Here is a timelapse of Titomic’s machine printing a sign in four minutes:

Why titanium?

The benefit for bikers is immediately apparent. Titanium bike frames are more durable than those made from carbon fibre. The golf club company, Callaway, is also very interested in this very capable printer.

However, titanium isn’t the only metal the company is looking to use.

CEO of Titomic Jeff Lang explains:

“When we look at carbon fibre parts they generally make a hollow part called a monocoque construction. We’re sort of at the stage now where we can achieve that with metal, large scale metal parts. Preferably out of titanium but we think that we can use any metal.”

Lang believes that their printer signals the birth of a new industry for metal manufacturing. He says now, with Titomic’s printer, they can genuinely do additive manufacturing more quickly, more intelligently and on an industrial scale.

The printer, Lang says, is creating titanium at a level that is “very close” to the strength of titanium when created using traditional methods - but concedes that more can be done to improve its printing methods. The printer has shown how efficient the process of additive manufacturing is, and signals future advances.

Works Cited
Farquhar, Peter. “A Melbourne Manufacturer Just Fired up the World's Largest 3D Metal Printer.” Business Insider Australia, Business Insider Australia, 16 May 2018, www.businessinsider.com.au/a-melbourne-manufacturer-just-fired-up-the-worlds-largest-3d-metal-printer-2018-5.
Quick, Darren. “World's Largest Metal 3D-Printer Scales up Additive Manufacturing.” New Atlas - New Technology & Science News, New Atlas, 18 May 2018, newatlas.com/titomic-worlds-largest-metal-3d-printer/54667/.

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