Aluminum and Titanium Printing World’s largest metal binder jet 3D printer with a controlled atmosphere
In December 2020, Ex One was issued a patent on binder jet 3D printing in an inert atmosphere sufficient to allow reactive materials to be processed. The feature is to smooth the way for production 3D printing of high-demand materials that require environmental controls.
Binder jetting expert Ex One announced that it will offer a controlled-atmosphere model of its X1 160Pro extra-large production metal printer in the second half of 2022. The company's largest metal 3D printer will offer a controlled atmosphere, enabling aluminum and titanium production. The patented approach will be part of a complete inert production system.
A controlled atmosphere is essential for 3D printing of reactive fine metal powders, but it also offers other benefits, such as reduction of powder oxidation and enhanced powder dispensing and spreading through control of humidity. This update will smooth the way for high-volume production of aluminum, titanium, copper, and several other materials using binder jet 3D printing technology.
Ex One has successfully been binder jetting reactive powders in controlled atmospheres, also sometimes referred to as inert or chemically inactive, for years. In 2020, the company was issued a patent on binder jet 3D printing in a controlled atmosphere.
The controlled-atmosphere X1 160Pro can be used with nitrogen or argon and will be paired with accessories and ancillary equipment also equipped with inert atmosphere features. These include a curing oven, powder conditioning system, depowdering station, and transport device for moving the build-box between process stages to ensure complete atmosphere control throughout the process.
The manufacturer will continue to offer the original model of the X1 160Pro, a streamlined model for customers who do not need a controlled atmosphere system to process metal powders such as stainless steels. Ex One customers currently use the X1 25Pro metal binder jet system for production today without an inert feature, with one customer now operating six of the systems for serial production. Ex One binder jet 3D printing technology is capable of processing 23 metal, ceramic, and composite materials, including a dozen single-alloy metals such as aluminum and titanium.