Germany based metal printer manufacturer One Click Metal has introduced a low-cost Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) 3D printer aiming to make metal 3D printer more accessible. Björn Ullmann, co-founder, and CEO of One Click Metal explained, “Currently you pay around a quarter to half a million in euros per machine and we’re trying to cut that cost significantly.” Continuing, “Our main focus is getting the technology out there and enabling as many people as possible because it’s basically limited to aerospace, medical and industries where money basically doesn’t matter.”
One Click Metal is a spin-off of the German machine tool manufacturer TRUMPF and has just entered the market this year. Ullmann and Stefan Weber who act as One Click Metal’s CTO are pursuing the goal of a prototype that could be utilized in “one’s own basement” for personal projects.
The Co-founders both have a background in development engineering for additive manufacturing and mechatronics and have designed the system to be adaptable to open format data and is intended for prototyping rather than series production.
“We believe that there are a lot of great minded people out there that would never get access to this sort of technology at the price point it’s at right now,” stated Ullmann. “Therefore, we want to stay at around €50,000 ($55,187.64) for the printer.” According to Ullmann, this price range decreases the cost of comparable systems by a factor of five. The company also plans to stay under €100 ($110.38) per kilogram of material for its powder, which can be recycled using its system overflow bin.
One Click Metal has combined four detached parts into a powder cartridge system and unpacking station. This design is intended for educational institutions for the safety of students and trainees. So far the machine can do stainless steel with a density of 99.5% but they are working on implementing aluminum and tool steel.
As stated by Ullmann, the laser is the most expensive part of a metal 3D printer. By creating its own laser, which offers a different wavelength, the 3D printer’s cost was reduced. “We worked really hard on getting a very cheap but fairly good laser source developed which offers the same energy level as others – and that is basically our voodoo,” Ullmann concludes.
Vialva, Tia, et al. “INTERVIEW: One Click Metal CEO on Debut of Low-Cost Laser Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printer at Formnext.” 3D Printing Industry, 11 Nov. 2019, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/interview-one-click-metal-ceo-on-debut-of-low-cost-laser-powder-bed-fusion-3d-printer-at-formnext-164463/.