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Indian Engineering Students Create Desktop Metal 3D Printer from Scratch

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As 3D printing technology continues to bloom in different parts of the world, the country of India has become an innovation hub for additive manufacturing. This particularly rings true in their educational system, which has helped open up the minds of their students to 3D printing on numerous occasions thus far. Last year, the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) became the first academic institution in India to provide a course on 3D printing. Not long after that, ART FICIAL and Novabeans partnered up to enhance India’s educational system by immersing students into the world of 3D printing technology through classical art pieces.

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St. Martin’s Engineering College student team [Photo: The Hans India]

Recent news coming from Hyderabad, which is the capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana and the de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh, shows that the country-wide focus on implementing 3D printing technology into India’s educational system seems to be paying off dividends. A group of eight engineering students from St. Martin’s Engineering College in Hyderabad have recently constructed a metal 3D printer, a first-of-its-kind project for a country that is just getting acquainted with 3D printing technology. By fusing a bronze powder with plastic filament, the students were able to print with metal material on their desktop 3D printing device, which they claim is three times more efficient than a standard 3D printer.

St. Martin’s Engineering College in Hyderabad

St. Martin’s Engineering College in Hyderabad

Still, since 3D printing technology is still in a relatively nascent state in India, the students did encounter some bumps along the way. Luckily for them, the internet served as a guide for the engineering team, helping to educate them on the various types of 3D printing technology, as well as how these additive manufacturing systems are developed. The team also received assistance from the locally-based 3D printing platform Think3D, which provided the students with a workspace and equipment for their trial runs. The helping hand from Think3D is what truly enabled the engineering students to build an efficient metal 3D printer, as they were able to see first-hand what hardware parts were most important, the required parameters, filament flow, software modifications, and more.

think3d_logo3At first, the team attempted to print directly with tin, lead, and copper wires, but soon found that the nozzle temperature continuously converted the metal filament into liquid droplets. After a brief stint of trial-and-error, the group used the expertise of Think3D and their supervisor, DV Srikanth, to alter their process and eventually succeed in creating a metal 3D printer. To overcome the aforementioned obstacle, the students combined a bronze powder material with plastic filament, which ran through their 3D printer seamlessly.

“As our attempts failed, we took suggestions from our guide DV Srikanth and Think3D and decided to use some amount of plastic in the metal,” said NP Satish, one of the engineering students who took part in the project. “With the help of a filament making company in Netherland, we were able to make out a filament using a mixture of bronze powder and plastic and were able print in metal.”

Aside from Satish, the other Hyderabad-based engineering students involved with the development of this printer includes CH Deepika, K Lokesh, A Veda Samhitha, K Samatha Reddy, J Vinaya Kumari, S Saishiva, and M Udaya Kumar. The student team invested about 70,000 Indian Rupee (approximately $1,044) into the project, which St. Martin’s Engineering College reportedly intends to fund them further. Thanks to hands-on assistance offered by India’s leading 3D printing technology distributor Think3D, the engineering students were able to put together an efficient and affordable metal 3D printer, further expanding India’s involvement with 3D printing innovation. Discuss further in the Engineering Students Make Metal 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: The Hans India]

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