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Less Expensive 3D printing is a Boon for Future Research

Release Date: August 23, 2021
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3D prints from metal and glass

His work to find a less expensive way to do metal 3D printing is winning international attention for Adjunct Professor Ahron Wayne of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Lawrence Technological University.

Why so much excitement?

Keeping down the cost means more designers, engineers and technicians can directly access 3D printing to make metal parts for their designs, in turn increasing the speed of development and shortening the time to market.

The Wayne method which is based on original work by the Virtual Foundry in Stoughton, Wisc., uses 3D printing plastic filled with metal powder. To remove the plastic binder, Wayne places the part in a crucible and uses thermal decomposition in an oven to break down the plastic. The result is a weak, extremely porous, “brown part,”  that is sintered or shrunk in the same oven at a high temperature, creating the strong, solid part.

In summary, Wayne’s method is similar to metal injection molding and brings down the cost of metal printing dramatically.

“So far the results have been pretty encouraging,” is the assessment from Goodfellow, a long-respected, UK-based supplier of materials to support research and development in science and industry.

Goodfellow is shining its spotlight on Wayne’s work on the company’s MaterialsHub.com website where you can read more details about his money-saving approach to metal 3D printing. Next up. Wayne has worked with the Foundry to print with glass and continues to refine the process.

Wayne has a history of finding affordable options for researchers. For his master’s degree research, he developed tools for scanning microscopy using motors to upgrade cheap microscopes, increasing their field of view. The results of this investigation were disseminated on Instructables, Hackaday and Kickstarter, websites for the  maker community.

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