Optomec’s Mini Metal Printer
Kyle Maxey posted on June 26, 2013 |

LENS, metal, aluminum, laser, sinter, 3d printing, universityIn the world of 3D printing, bigger really is better,  but New Mexico-based Optomec plans to take things in a different direction.  The company will bring selective laser sintering down to the micro scale with their new Laser Engineered Net Shaping printer.

Originally created at Sandia National Labs for use by the military and aerospace industry, the LENS 450 printer has just a 100x100x100mm (3.94x3.94x3.94in) build volume, and constructs parts mainly from titanium, stainless steel, cobalt, chrome, and superalloys. With those restrictions, you wouldn’t expect to get much out of it, but it’s still starting to catch the eye of several industries.

One reason for its success is its ability to not only create stand-alone components, but to modify existing components. In the past, the LENS printer has been used to add features like bosses and flanges to large cast components, and to repair military and aerospace parts.

With the release of this new printer, Optomec is hoping to spread the use of metals as a 3D printing material within colleges and universities. In fact, the first LENS system will soon be delivered to the University of Pittsburg’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. The university, which is already a part of the US’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, will likely be at the vanguard of new techniques for additive manufacturing.

Watch a Video of a LENS System In Action:

Image and Video Courtesy of Optomec

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