Teen Invents Liquid-Metal 3D Printer With Potential to Transform Manufacturing: Page 2 of 2

The idea of a teenage inventor who wanted to create a prototype for a project he was working on has developed into 3D printing machine that can print objects out of molten metal and has the potential to transform manufacturing.

of reasons, in part because the process is both simple and robust.

“Parts can be made very quickly--not just in terms of deposition rates, but also total cycle times,” he explained. “Our current system can print a solid one-inch by one-inch cylinder that is ready to hold in three minutes. Input material costs are also much lower than existing technologies, and the overall machine cost is lower as well. These all increase accessibility. There is no de-powdering after the print, means that enclosed hollows are possible. All of these factors change the business case substantially for manufacturers, allowing metal 3D printing to be used for many more manufactured products than the existing, powder-bed, technologies.”

The Vaders have secured UB engineering faculty and students to work closely with them. Scott Vader reached out to the university after he and Zachary already were working on the invention in the basement of their home. Now the company has three faculty advisors and have won grants from UB’s Center for Industrial Effectiveness and Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology, as well as and a National Grid grant through UB to further develop and promote their technology.

Vader Systems also has hired several engineers based on its connections to UB, is looking to hire more, and is currently setting up its production facility and business infrastructure in Getzville, N.Y., near Buffalo, Vader said. “Additionally, we’re establishing strategic partnerships and working with our early customers to deliver our first systems,” he said.
 

That is expected this year, with the company planning to deliver experimental units of the Mk1 that can print aluminum at deposition rates of up to 1 pound per hour to U.S. researchers and early adopter manufacturing partners, Vader said.
 

In 2018, Vader Systems hopes to release a production-stable version of the Mk1 for manufacturers intended for short-run and specialty production items with the same deposition rate, but also with the ability to print metals such as bronze and copper, he added. That year the company also plans to develop and release a multi-nozzle version Mk2 that will have deposition rates up to 30 pounds per hour, as well as expand into international markets, Vader added.
 

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

Comments

About 20 years ago, I was in an IBM research facility in Austin, TX, that had a system printing molten solder using a similar technique I think they referred to as magneto-hydrodynamic jetting. I don't think that they ever developed it commercially. We also did some work with piezo-driven jetting of solder with a company called MicroFab, I think, in Plano, TX. We had a system, and were stacking 50 micron solder balls into tall columns with it, among other things. Granted, solder is not aluminum.

Vadar... I just can't get past that. I am shocked there wasn't one Star Wars comment in the whole article. I mean, come one, Magnetojet? LOL this is too cool. Besides that, this is very cool stuff. :)

Magnetohydrodynamics! Wow, a blast from the '80's where we were horizontally casting 1.5, 2.5 and 3" Dia aluminum alloy billet thru a motor stator. We were spinning magnetic field around the solidifying zone and stirring the aluminum and creating a spheroidal structure alloy which would later be heated to semi-solid in an induction coil and formed into high quality, heat treatable, aluminum parts. MHD has come a long way and cut out the middle process of reheating. Live long and prosper Vader!

and the board members will be saying, "Vader, what is thy bidding?" Cool stuff. Having some jewelers in the family, I had wondered when 3D printing from molten metal would be available.

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