3D printing is a core Industry 4.0 technology, and one company has developed a unique process to print metal 3D parts faster, stronger and more accurately than ever before.
We see the value in 3D printing for schools to teach materials science and engineering principles in authentic, industrially-relevant projects. Xact Metal, located in Penn State University’s Innovation Park, is positioned perfectly to understand the value in providing these relevant learning experiences to students.
A Better Way to 3D Print Metal
Many metal 3D printers use fused deposition modeling (FDM), also known as fused filament fabrication. This process uses a continuous filament strand of material to print the part. However, to accomplish this with metal materials, you need a specialized 3D printer, a wash/debinder, and a sintering oven. That means higher equipment cost, longer print times, and extra space and additional construction.
The Xact Metal process removes these barriers to accessible 3D printing. Known as metal powder-bed fusion printing, the XM200C uses a fiber laser to melt thin layers of metal powder on the print bed, one at a time, to create parts directly from a 3D CAD model.
Metal powder-bed fusion can print complex parts at tight tolerances while reducing the cycle time by about 50% from FDM printing. Plus there’s no shrinkage of parts like you get with FDM, so you can be confident that your parts will come out just as designed.
New Tech Leads Metal 3D Printing Market
Xact Metal went a step further, innovating the movement of the laser itself. Most printers will use complex rotating galvanometer mirrors and F-theta lenses. With a galvanometer, the laser approaches the powder bed at different angles, resulting in a higher margin of error.
Xact Metal designed a new system called Xact Core, which uses a high-speed gantry system platform that allows light, simple mirrors to move quickly and consistently above the powder bed on an X-Y axis. This allows for a constant laser angle across the whole build plate.
Easy-to-Use Interface Makes Printing Simple
An interactive graphic user interface (GUI) makes loading files, setting up builds and monitoring the build process quick and easy. Mounted on the printer itself, the modern touchscreen monitor is designed so that even beginners can navigate their prints easily.
Users can set up their print right from the interface, optimizing parameters and seeing an overview of every print spec. The build will then go into a queue, where users can see each print set up and waiting. Once running, users can monitor print data in real-time, such as bed temperature, chamber temperature, and pressure and oxygen percentage.
They can even watch the print in real-time via two cameras that stream to this GUI. Check out the inside view of the print in action!
Request an Xact Metal Quote
For more information, technical specs and pricing on the Xact Metal XM200C 3D metal printer, fill out this form below. Our team will be in touch shortly!