Welcome to the Metalbot Wiki
Prepare for a new way of making things
We believe that 3D Metal Printing will be a corner stone of the coming manufacturing revolution, creating new forms of technology impossible with current techniques. Imagine printing jet engines, rocket parts and aerospace quality tools in your garage with the click of a button!
To navigate this wiki please use the menu sidebar which can be accessed by clicking the top far-left menu item.
Where do I begin?
If you are a newcomer prepare yourself for a flurry of technical terms and acronyms however there is no need to worry because the idea of 3D Metal Printing, at its core, is really a simple one!
How can I contribute?
The Metalbot Project is powered by YOU. We are always excited to see new faces here and there are many ways you can get involved. Have a look at the development portal to see exactly what needs development. Get started right away by sharing your ideas on the forums or adding you own blog post. If you want to help towards the costs of equipment and managing the project please check out the donation page.
In addition to development there are many ways which you can show support such as helping with documentation, forum management, making suggestions and telling other people about us! If you need help with using this site, have a read of the site user guide.
Metalbot is powered by the community. We are a group of passionate people who want to be empowered by open source technology. We are fostering an open environment of global collaboration where contributions and ideas are protected, acknowledged and celebrated. If you share that vision then get right into the middle of the action by signing up and sharing your work on the forums or by publishing a blog post.
Visit the main development page to see where we are...
The challenges we face are extremely broad in scope however the project road map (illustrated below) shows the proposed development path needed to make the project a success.
Challenges and Goals
Our current design path is centered around two metal consolidation methods. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Wire-Arc Welding. Both processes involve the fusing of layers of metal together in a controlled way to produce net-shaped parts.
Engineering an open source 3D Metal Printer is a singularly monumental undertaking that requires global collaboration. By breaking the project down into smaller 'sub-systems' we can focus on one issue at a time. Our aim is to assemble the engineered sub-systems together into one user friendly machine. Take a look at the development portal for more information.
We aim to set the standard in 3D Metal Printing. This means data. The more we know the better design choices we can make. A well known mantra of the open source movement is "release early... release often", by doing so you will receive feedback from the community as well as further the project and help us maintain an open and creative environment, so share your experiments whether they succeed or fail!
We want to be smart about the development of Metalbot. Although we have a rough development path, this does not mean that we turn a blind eye to new breakthroughs and ideas.
If you disagree with certain design choices or have a new idea that you want to see become reality then share your opinions either on the forums or through a blog post. Some of the foremost minds in 3D printing inhabit the forums so share and receive feedback on your designs from industry experts.
With that in mind we still need to keep consistency across the different areas of the project. To do so we need some design guidelines as set out below*:
- Simple: By keeping the project as simple as possible we will remove any unneeded expenses or overly complex components. This reduces barrier to entry and makes the technology more accessible.
- Modular: In order for the 3D Metal Printer to have a long operating life it needs to be easy to maintain. A modular design means that it is simple to replace parts that are worn on the printer.
- Affordable: There is one reason alone why 3D Metal Printers are inaccessible today... they are incredibly expensive. Commercial Metal Printer are only available to large corporations and major industrial complexes, therefore one of our key goals is to do this without breaking the bank! See the cost planning page for details.
- Safe: There are many hazards to deal with while developing a 3D metal printer. Please see our Safety section. Any developments to the Metalbot should be safe.
- Open: Giving means receiving! Metalbot is open source. All the information release through Metalbot.org is protected under a CC-BY 4.0 license to preserve our open-source roots.
- Civil: Spamming, Trolling, vandalizing, Rudeness, Bad behavior, foul language etc will not be tolerated. This is a community where people help each other. Please see our full site policies.
- Documented: The printer will be literally be useless without adequate documentation. Make sure that you document or at least forward the information to someone who can adequately document the info for you in the wiki for all to read.
*If you feel the need for an amendment of the guidelines please feel free to discuss them on the forums.