Jodhpur institute makes cheaper 3D printer

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Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur have developed a cheaper metal 3D printer suitable for aerospace, defence, automotive, oil and gas, and general engineering applications.

"Despite the fact that metal 3D printing technology started a few years after the launch of polymer 3D printing, it is yet to experience the tremendous growth that the polymer 3D industry has achieved, especially in India," a press release said. "The high price of the product and the more expensive proprietary metal powders imported from abroad are some of the reasons for the limited growth of metal 3D printers."

According to the institute, the printer can repair and add additional material to existing components as well as print new 3D parts with metal powders made in India. All components of the metal 3D printer, except the laser and robot systems, are designed and manufactured in the country.

"Our study results show that if all the parts needed to make a metal printing machine could be manufactured indigenously, the cost of a metal 3D printing machine could be reduced by two to three times," said Dr Ravi K R, associate professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.