Swinburne acquires fast metal 3D printing device

Swinburne University has extended the capabilities of Australian-grown advanced manufacturing with the installation of a LightSPEE3D printer at its Factory of the Future.

The LightSPEE3D printer is an Australian-developed metal 3D printer and is the first 3D metal parts printer to apply supersonic deposition, which involved firing metal particles faster than the speed of sound, which greatly reduces the time it takes for industrial quality metal parts to be fabricated.

“Unlike traditional 3D printing technologies, supersonic deposition does not use heat to melt the metal particles,” said Swinburne advanced manufacturing researcher, Associate Professor Suresh Palanisamy.

“Instead, the metal particles are sprayed at a support plate, layer by layer, through a rocket nozzle using high velocity air, allowing for a much faster build.”

The technology also reduces cost and complexity in the metal 3D printing process, according to Palanisamy.

“This technology can print complex geometric parts without the need for specialised tools such as fixtures, jigs, gauges, moulds, dies, and patterns. The only inputs required are computer-aided design (CAD), compressed air and metal powder. This not only reduces the time needed to manufacture a part, but also the cost.”

Supported by the Victorian state government and its Future Industries Sector Growth Funding Program, the facility is open to researchers, students, and organisations. The structure of the program at Swinburne allows for the development of conceptual ideas for manufacturing products which extend current capabilities in their sector.

Through the agreement with SPEE3D, students from Swinburne will be able to intern with the 3D printing company.