After careful of design and construction we are now on the verge of completing our second prototype, which will be used to test and optimize our printing algorithms. Unlike its predecessor, which was only capable of individual 2D layers, this prototype utilizes an automated powder deposition mechanism to stack multiple consecutive layers into a full 3D geometry.
One key update is that the linear positioning is now actuated with timing belts, which has increased their rate of travel by a factor of eight over the lead screws used in the previous prototype.
The laser driver circuitry has been upgraded as well, with more capable MOSFETs and a greatly improved cooling system. This new driver will allow us to quickly change the laser’s output power from one movement to the next to allow fine tuned energy input for more consistent sintering.
The last major upgrade in this prototype is the enclosed print chamber. The enclosure enables us to print in inert atmospheres, greatly improving surface quality and inter-layer bonding.
Additional improvements and upgrades are in the works as well. A video demonstrating this prototype in action will be released very shortly, be sure to check back for updates!