3D Printing Announcements at CES

Though CES may stand for the Consumer Electronics Show, the event provides an interesting insight into the state of the industry, and some big industrial news does occur, at least from time to time. For this reason, its worth paying close attention to the space that 3D printing occupies at CES every year. You never know just what innovations may spring up in Las Vegas.

Metal X from Markforged

The unveiling of the Metal X 3D printer by Markforged may have been the biggest 3D printing news from CES 2017. For less than $100,000 it will now be possible to 3D print complex metal parts with the Metal X. The system prints metal powder within a plastic matrix to create parts that are then sintered in a furnace, revealing almost fully dense metal parts.

As Markforged CEO Greg Mark pointed out in our interview with him, much of the plastic products littering CES are made with metal molds, and the Metal X may just make it possible to create custom molds on the fly and at a low cost.

Sculpteo Unveils Smart Metal 3D Printing Software

One of the biggest issues still facing metal 3D printing today is the ability to optimize support structure placement and other variables in order to ensure a proper print. 3D printing service provider Sculpteo aims to streamline this process with its Agile Metal Technology (AMT), a software suite dedicated to automating a number of elements of the metal 3D printing design and preparation process. The suite includes six modules:

  • Business Case: Marketed as a “self-learning AI,” Business Case is a tool that determines whether or not a CAD file is optimized for metal 3D printing and evaluates material choices, costs, time, possible risks and whether or not metal 3D printing is the right technology for making the part.
  • Design Optimizer: This tool suggests the optimal printing orientation, detects flaws, suggests design changes and analyzes how to handle thermal constraints.
  • Lattice Generator: As you might guess, this tool generates the optimal lattice pattern for maintaining structural integrity while reducing part weight.
  • Support Optimizer: Determines the supports necessary for a part to undergo the metal 3D printing process.
  • Post-Processor: This tool evaluates the post-processing features of a project.
  • Batch Controller: This is a tool for enabling the batch 3D printing of metal parts.

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