Australian start-up Aurora are promising the first affordable metal 3D printer, with its S1 model costing under £3,000 via its Kickstarter launch page.
The Solidus 1 (S1) is listed as a ‘consumer grade’ printer, with a 150 x 150 x 200mm build area, 50 micron resolution, and two powder feeders capable of printing in stainless steel, inconel, hastelloy, brass, bronze, mild steel and others.
Previously, metals 3D printers have been limited by cost, size, power demands and (ultimately, when playing with metal posers and lasers) safety – yet Aurora say they have this covered with their proprietary new technology.
The build area still requires an inert gas, depending on the materials you’re building with either nitrogen or argon can be used. The entire system is sealed and Aurora states it has a unique scrubbing system that reduces the gas consumption and keeps the oxygen gas levels down.
At only 1.6m tall and less than half a metre wide and deep, the machine is less imposing than the majority of the market’s current printers.
In addition Aurora is looking for backing for the multi-material S2, with three powder feeders, and the large format S2+ with a 180 x 180 x 500mm build area.
Aurora Labs is a spin-off from founder David Budge’s robotic manufacturing business, Advanced Industrial Manufacturing, which relies on ABB industrial robots and robotic welders to manufacture parts for the West Australian mining sector.
The rest of the team behind the printers have backgrounds in materials science and surface engineering, computer science, and maths and physics.