A 3D printer with a maximum processing size of 1.8m (6 feet) is being developed by the Chinese Dalian region’s Dalian University of Technology and local company Unit Science and Technology Development.
Reported by the Dalian regional government’s own media, Dalian Daily, the 3D printer is, according to the Dalian Economic and Information Commission, ‘in its debugging stage’. The material for the printer is described as ‘common coated sand’ that costs about 1,000 Yuan per tonne. This is because it is being used to make casting moulds for large industrial samples with complex structures.
The local government also states that: ‘Owing to its unique technique of contour scanning this 3D-printer will shorten processing time by 35 per cent and reduce manufacturing costs by 40 per cent compared to other types of laser 3D printers.’
Obstacles to the widespread introduction of 3D printing, or laser additive manufacturing as is it also known, include long processing durations, expensive material costs and the physical deformation of large parts due to the high amount of heat that the structure will absorb. Researchers at the Dalian University of Technology claim to have overcome some of the causes behind these problems.