Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Desktop Metal Receives Two Patents for Removable 3D Printing Support Technology

ST Medical Devices

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The Desktop Metal Studio System

It hasn’t yet been a year since Desktop Metal announced the release of its two metal 3D printing systems, the DM Studio System and the DM Production System. Investors and others had been eagerly anticipating the introduction of the startup’s new technology, and they weren’t disappointed, as the Studio System and Production System looked right away to be impressive developments.

The Studio System was described by Desktop Metal as the first office-friendly metal 3D printing system, featuring a 3D printer, a debinder, and a sintering furnace that fit neatly into an office or workshop. It also introduced Bound Metal Deposition (BMD) 3D printing technology, a powder-free technology that involves the extrusion of rods of bound metal. It’s safer and easier than other types of metal 3D printing technology, with support structures that can be removed by hand.

The Production System is the first metal 3D printing system to be designed for mass production. It too introduced a new 3D printing technology: Single Pass Jetting (SPJ), which is capable of 3D printing parts 100 times faster than laser-based 3D printing systems. The Production System is capable of 3D printing at a rate of 8,200 cubic centimeters per hour and is the first system that can 3D print metal parts at scale. It also allows for support structures to be removed by hand, making post-processing immensely easier.

The Desktop Metal Production System

Today Desktop Metal announced that it has been granted seminal patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its inventions in interface layer technology for both the Studio System and the Production System. The company has exclusive rights to the patented technologies, which add to a portfolio of over 100 pending patent applications covering more than 200 inventions.

A Desktop Metal scientist shows a highly complex brake assembly housing part for an excavator after supports were easily removed by hand.

“As a company driven by invention, we are committed to both innovating and protecting our technology through strategic intellectual property achievements,” said Jonah Myerberg, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Desktop Metal. “The technological innovation in these patents enables users, for the first time, to print large metal parts with complex geometries that can be easily removed from their support structures by hand or to print metal objects with separable interlocking structures.”

US Patent No. 9,815,118 and US Patent No. 9,833,839 cover the separable support layer technology used in both the Studio System and the Production System. The company also owns several other pending patent applications covering other aspects of the technology.

“Traditional laser powder bed methods for metal additive manufacturing (AM) are restricted to single materials and are both difficult and costly to implement,” said Myerberg. “Desktop Metal has designed new approaches for metal AM that now allow multiple materials to be used during printing. This makes it possible to print support structures that do not bond to parts and consolidate during sintering with the part and, as a result, high dimensional accuracy is achieved, and support structures are easily removed by hand. We believe the benefit of this technology covered by the patents will enable substantially increased adoption of metal AM.”

The Studio System began shipping just last month, and the Production System is scheduled to ship in late 2018.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Images courtesy of Desktop Metal]

 

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