The Xline 2000R metal 3D printer from Concept Laser is a really big 3D printer. A really, really big one – in fact, it’s the biggest metal 3D printer in the world thus far, with a build volume of 800 x 400 x 500 mm³. The monstrous metal melting machine weighs about 900 kg and carries a price tag of $3.5 million, so it’s not entirely surprising that only five of the printers have been manufactured so far, and it’s a pretty big deal when a company or university decides to invest in one.
The latest institution to purchase an Xline 2000R is Melbourne, Australia’s Monash University, a school we see quite frequently in the news for its sophisticated 3D printed anatomical models, 3D printed aerospace components, and other advanced 3D printing applications. Monash is particularly involved in metal 3D printing, with a spinoff company called Amaero Engineering entirely dedicated to the technology. That’s a good thing, because if you’re going to invest in a $3.5 million metal additive manufacturing machine, you’d better have a decent metal additive manufacturing program.
Not only is Monash University’s Xline 2000R only one of five, but it’s the only one outside of America and Europe, the only one in a university and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere available for contract manufacturing. (No pressure or anything, Monash and Amaero, but try not to spill anything on it.)
“The new printer allows us to make large complex shapes and unique tools quicker, lighter and with less waste,” said Professor Xinhua Wu, who leads the Monash University 3D printing initiative.
So what does one do after installing the biggest 3D printer in the world? 3D print the biggest metal part in the world, of course – or at least the biggest metal aerospace component made with a powder bed 3D printer. Close enough – as far as I know, Cranfield University still holds the record for biggest metal 3D printed part all around and ORNL/Boeing maintain their record for the biggest aerospace component, but the massive door hinge printed by Monash and Amaero is nothing to sneeze at.
The hinge is from a Chinese jet airliner; it weighs 11 kg and measures 40 x 80 x 39 cm. The two organizations will be presenting the part at the Australian International Airshow 2017, which is taking place at the Avalon Airport in Geelong from March 3 to 5. In addition to the hinge, Monash and Amaero are also displaying the first-ever 3D printed jet engine, a Safran gas turbine engine from a Falcon executive jet, which they printed in 2015; a large and complex air intake component; and a cutaway view of a new design for a rocket motor.
Amaero and Monash University have big plans for the Xline 2000R.
“This new printer creates promising opportunities for advanced manufacturing in Australia for global markets,” said Amaero CEO Barrie Finnin. “Last year, we printed production components that are now flying in passenger jets and small turbojet engines. Our technology is also now operating in our manufacturing facility in Toulouse with our partner Safran—the French-based global aerospace and defence company.
“Now we can literally go bigger. This new capability will be of great interest to our aerospace and automotive customers in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.”
You can learn more about Monash University’s additive manufacturing facilities, and see the printing of a jet engine, in the videos below:
Discuss in the Monash University forum at 3DPB.com.[Images via Science in Public]