Momentum technologies has undertaken the a new licensing deal to produce 3D printed magnets. The original design belonged to Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The researchers at ORNL found a way to produce magnets using old hard disks. The magnets in question are also considerably stronger than those made from traditional methods.
Momentum Technologies is a company that specialises in repurposing recyclable materials. They are particularly interested in Membrane Solvent Extraction, a method developers can use to extract rare earth elements from electronic waste. Naturally, they bought up the rights to this production method.
Momentum has an exclusive agreement with the US department of energy. They both aim to use Membrane Solvent Extraction to save precious materials. It’s not surprising that Momentum saw an opportunity in this method of making magnets. Aside from containing magnets, hard disks also contain very rare metals. With this method Momentum can make even better use of old electronics and repurpose their parts.
3D Printing Magnets
Magnets and magnetic parts are a large portion of many of the machines we prise the most. They are also one of the missing links in the full integration of 3D printing into machine production. So far, 3D printing is primarily a tool for prototyping. Thus, the production of magnets could lead to manufacturers being able to make all significant parts of their electronics using 3D printers.
ORNL use neodymium magnets they retrieve from recycled hard disks and print them into new designs for differing purposes. These particular magnets have far better structures and molecular geometry. This makes them better on top of being 3D printable.
Subtractive methods have certain downsides like wastage. Traditionally, carving a magnet wastes about 50% of the material. ORNL’s technique prints them into shape as opposed to carving them and is therefore much more viable. The method uses 35% nylon and 65% neodyminum magnets to make the magnets. The company also uses a Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine to print it to the desired shape.
3D printed magnets could revolutionise many different industries. Among the contenders is rail travel, turbines and freight elevators. Right now the technology is still taking off. Companies may very well incorporate them into their processes in the near future.