Rochester Institute of Technology will soon acquire the first liquid metal 3D-printing system from Vader Systems, a Buffalo-based company. It will be part of an array of high-tech equipment being used for research and product development through the New York state’s Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) Center located at RIT.
The declaration was made recently by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul during the opening ceremony of the AMPrint Center, the state’s newest Center for Advanced Technology. AMPrint will be among the first research labs in the world to focus on development of next-generation multifunctional 3D printing technologies, materials and devices. The center will bring together university and corporate researchers to advance two industries the Finger Lakes region is noted for—printing and imaging—and enhance the global and national competitiveness of New York state manufacturing.
The standard way of printing 3D metal parts today is to use powdered metal alloys, which are fused using high heat. Powdered inks tend to be expensive and the fusion process lengthy. Vader Systems’ MK1 system uses an aluminum alloy in an ink-jet-style printer to create 3D-print objects. The MagnetoJet technology, in which an aluminum alloy is liquefied in a high-temperature ceramic chamber, should be faster and less expensive to use. Both Vader Systems and AMPrint Center researchers will continually update the MK1 capacity, specifically exploring a variety of metals and increased number of printing heads.