Rapid liquid metal printing

Researchers at MIT developed a 3D printing technique that can print large-scale parts rapidly with liquid metal.

Called liquid metal printing (LMP), the technique involves depositing molten aluminium along a predetermined path into a bed of tiny glass beads. The aluminium hardens quickly, allowing to produce large-scale parts like table legs and chair frames to be produced in a matter of minutes. According to the team, the process is at least 10 times faster than a comparable metal additive manufacturing process.

A downside of the speed and lower cost of the process is that it cannot achieve high resolutions. It would be suitable for components of larger structures where no fine details are required, like architecture and industrial design. It can also be used for quick prototyping with recycled or scrap metal.

Photos: MIT Self-Assembly Lab