The Mini Metal Maker prints 3D objects from digital files directly in precious metal clay, rather than in plastic. Once these clay objects air-dry, they are fired in a kiln to produce beautiful solid metal objects of high purity and precision. Using metal clay essentially replaces the entire wax-casting or lost-wax process ordinarily needed to do this. The Mini Metal Maker will add new capability for the DIY inventor or artist by making fabrication in metal easy and direct. It will be a boon for anyone interested in creating their own gears, miniature mechanisms, or printing detailed jewelry or metal ornaments. The Mini Metal Maker is built around the concept of using the minimum number of parts, reducing the cost to produce and also eliminating many chances for error during assembly.
They have raised about $7500 out of $10,000 to improve the precision from 500 microns to 200 microns.
We aim to raise $10,000 for materials to refine and package our technology into a producible product. In order to achieve the reliability and price point needed to make this good invention a great product, we need to finish our research and development. Funds will go toward the following activities:
* Refine the metal clay recipe for each of five different clay types:
Copper, Bronze, Steel, Silver & Gold.
* Refine our high-pressure extruder design. We currently have a reliable extrusion trace at around 0.5mm but believe this can be reduced to 200 microns.
* Add a second print head for use with additional metal clays or support material.
* Optimize the integrated motor carriage design so that it can be easily printed on low cost printers such as the Makerbot and RepRap.
* Refine custom firmware for the printer to further optimize printing for clay.
* Create the Mini Metal Forge software environment in order to foster a good user experience, particularly for the non-technical craftsperson.
* Work with industrial partners to tool up for production of the machine with injection molding.