This category is for detailing the cost of the components that go into a Metalbot 3D Printer
Open source 3D metal printing technology is still in it's infancy. We still have yet to build a 'proof of concept' prototype so we don't have clear cost estimates at the moment. We are working towards releasing a Bill of Materials to go with the build guide for Metalbot V1.0. We want to make 3D metal printing extremely accessible, however peoples skill levels and technical abilities vary greatly.
There are tough design tradeoffs that we need to make in order to build the best 3D Metal Printer possible while at the same time keeping it easy to operate and affordable. Considering that many commercials systems cost well about the $500k mark, this is certainly one of our greatest challenges.
When discussing cost planing for the project please keep in mind the following guidelines:
- All efforts should be made to keep this project affordable and accessible to everyone... basically everything that current commercial systems are not!
- Costs and build time both increase exponentially with the size of the printer (e.g. a bigger powder bed will require a larger laser to sinter more powder which will cost more). For now we are focusing on smaller build volumes.
To talk about project cost and budgets please head over to the Cost Planning Forums and voice you opinion.
- Write a detailed BOM to go with the Metalbot Build guide (include places to buy parts and prices).
- Keep the entire Bill of Materials under 10k> (if you disagree please discuss on the forums)
- Define a goal build volume
There are quite a few expenses that need to be overcome when developing an Open Source 3D Metal Printer:
- The first big expense is the consolidation method. This is because the materials used to make lasers are very expensive. Even a simple laser system, for example a Nd:Yag laser, uses ruby which is expensive to fabricate. Another reason is that lasers technology is very complex and requires very precise instruments during manufacture. Everything about them is expensive, therefore they are expensive! The higher power a laser is, the more expensive. Other parts of the laser system such as the laser scanner and laser power supply are also unfortunately expensive.
- Laser Module
- Laser Power Supply
- Laser Scanner
- Engineering Costs One cost to factor in will be the precision machining that will be required to make the powder roller system. This is because we are dealing with extremely thin layers of powder. Evenness of the powder layers will be crucial to the printing quality.
- Making a Gas Tight Seal on the Door
- Machining the Powder Containers and Powder Roller
- Making a Rack Type Assembly for the Laser Power Supply and Electronics
Software and Electronics
We want to make use of as much open technology as we possibly can. Harware as in PCBs and Components will have to be determined.
- Components BOM
- Valve, Roller and Gas control (with arduino)
- User Interface
- Interface Between Scanner Software and Slicer Software
Hardware and Frames
- Welding the Frame
- Metal Racks
- Argon Tank
- Gas Proofing
- Material Handling
- Powder Input
- Powder Roller
- Powder Recycling
- Machining the Printing Bed and Z-Axis
- Cladding and Gas Proofing the Entire Assembly with Sheet Metal
What tools are needed to make a metalbot. Can we provide Metalbot in a kit form?
There are also consumables that are required for a functioning Metalbot, these run as follows:
- Powders e.g. cost of filling the powder bed (dependent on build volume)
- Argon/Nitrogen Gas (dependent on build chamber volume)
- Electricity to run the machines
How long will it take for the average enthusiast to put together a machine of his own? What prerequisite technical knowledge does he need and what can we do to reduce the barriers to entry?
We do expect that as the popularity of the project increases there will be 3RD Party suppliers that will provide components at a reduced cost, feeding back into the community and reducing the Bill of Materials cost total.
As the project develops the individual parts and subsystems will become more 'part specific'.
Bill of Materials
To be determined