3D Printing with Metal

In the pursuit of manufacturing everything with 3D printers, a material limitation has continuously been encountered. Unless you’re willing to purchase a very expensive machines. Research is beginning to take off in this area though, which means more affordable 3D printers capable of working with metals are on the horizon. One organization that is beginning to look into 3D printing with metals is the European Space Agency (ESA):

The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to “take 3D printing into the metal age” by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects.

The Amaze project brings together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts.

What’s interesting about the ESA’s pursuit is that it intends to manufacture parts capable of surviving high stress environments such as jet engines. One of the limitations of 3D printing with metal currently is the fact that printed metal parts tend to be weaker than mental parts created through other manufacturing techniques. If the ESA can create printed metal parts that are nearly as strong as metal parts created through other means we could be on the verge of something wonderful.

Obviously my interest is partially focused on firearms technology. I would love to live in a world where any state law against firearm ownership could be bypassed by the press of a button on a 3D printer. We’re at the early stages of such a world but the material limitations of current consumer 3D printers is providing some difficulties. Once that limitation is overcome we can print reliable firearms without the state having any knowledge.