You probably know that high-end industrial 3d printers can print metal objects by using laser or electron beams on fine metallic powder but Vader is something completely different. Vader aims at small companies or professional workshop environments by implementing proprietary MagnetoJet Printing (MJP) and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) ceramic printhead technologies to reduce the machine cost.
It uses molten metal and jets it in small droplets onto a surface similary to a standard inkjet paper printer and by connecting the metal droplets a 3d object can be made. It could be considered world’s first molten metal 3d printer!
Since one of the design ideas behind this machine is to make it widely available, the material it uses had to be widely available and cheap so the main material is molten aluminum wire.
While the basic technology sounds easy in theory and has been used even 20 years ago in the past for some applications, there are still many difficult technical obstacles to overcome. These obstacles include reaching complex requirements like developing a printhead that is resistant to abrasive properties of molten aluminum by using ceramics, magnetic containment and getting drop-on-demand molten metal droplets.
Here is a detailed Vader presentation given on March 16, 2015 at the University at Buffalo Horizons in Digital Manufacturing Conference. Very interesting stuff if you are interested in liquid molten metal dynamics, microdroplets deposition and jet formation.
Vader is founded two years ago by Scott and Zachary Vader, a father-son team. With Fall of 2015 being the timeframe for the release of first working pre-production Mark 1 prototype.
The price range of the first machine should be around 250.000 USD which is much cheaper than currently available commercial metal 3d printers.
Hopefully the Vader team will be successful in bringing their machine to the market and start the race for affordable HOME metal 3d printers. I want one! And I know some of you want one too!
Vader Systems company page: http://www.vadersystems.com/