Last year, we heard about Penn State engineering graduate Matt Woods, who launched a startup, Xact Metal, based on a new metal 3D printing technology he developed.

The startup also developed the XM200 metal 3D printer, which began shipping in September and was only the first of several planned 3D printers designed to use Woods’ innovative, patent-pending technology, which is a variation on regular laser-based powder 3D printing systems.

“Making metal powder-bed fusion less expensive requires innovation. Xact Metal’s printing technology is built on the patent-pending Xact Core, a high-speed gantry system platform that uses light, simple mirrors to move quickly and consistently above the powder bed on an X-Y axis and lowers the overall system cost,” Xact Metal CTO Woods explained. “In addition, the Xact Core technology avoids the use of complex rotating galvanometer mirrors and F-theta lenses, maintains a constant laser angle across the whole build plate, and provides a simplified gas flow over the powder bed.”

This week, Xact Metal, which operates out of The Pennsylvania State University’s Innovation Park, is introducing its two newest 3D printers. The first is the high-caliber, $80,000 XM200C, which has a large build volume of 127 x 127 x 127 mm and a patent-pending scanner capable of fusing at speeds up to 500 mm per second.

Juan Mario Gomez, CEO of Xact Metal, said, “The XM200C makes metal powder-bed fusion available for universities, labs and small-to-medium businesses who need prototyping, casting, tooling and printing of small parts, and who could not afford these systems in the past. In addition, when compared to bound metal deposition, atomic deposition additive manufacturing or other FDM-like metal 3D printers, metal powder-bed fusion provides high-quality and complex parts, reduces total cycle time by about 50%, and removes the need for wash/debinder and sintering/oven equipment.”

The XM200C, featuring a 100W Yb fiber laser, has a relatively small footprint, which makes it easy to integrate into the manufacturing floor or the lab. It can 3D print using multiple metals, such as tooling steels, bronze, stainless steel, and super alloys, and has an open architecture design so qualified users can use their own powder or develop their own printing parameters for jobs.

Cloud connectivity is available for the XM200C, which weighs roughly 280 lbs and comes with an intuitive, user-friendly 7″ touchscreen. Additionally, its modern software architecture provides a streamlined platform that can support remote monitoring and visual workflows.

Xact Metal is also launching its high-performance XM200S this week, which has a 200W Yb fiber laser and a cutting-edge digital galvanometer mirror scanner, with a jogging speed of 12 m/sec.

“The XM200S uses state-of-the art technology. Precision digital optical systems provide active thermal drift compensation which eliminates warm-up times and minimizes long-term drift during printing operations,” said Woods. “The 24-bit command resolution gives industry-leading positional accuracy. In addition, the patent-pending recoater uses a unique ‘bulb’ shape element to spread powder like a blade, yet provides compaction similar to a rolling element, and the compliant design allows the recoater to negotiate out-of-plane growth and continue printing.”

The XM200S has the same small footprint, open architecture design, and 127 x 127 x 127 mm build volume as the XM200C, but is nearly double the weight at 400 lbs.

This new 3D printer can also work with a larger variety of metals than the XM200C can, including titanium and aluminum, and offers easy access to the particle collection and overflow container and filters. This access, coupled with an inert swap housing, makes it safe and fast to change the filter.

“Priced at $130,000, the XM200S is ideal for printing of small parts where high-performance applications and print speed are critical. The introduction of the XM200S is another example of how Xact Metal continues to combine the requirements of metal powder-bed fusion and breakthrough technology to establish a new level of price and performance for additive manufacturing,” said Gomez.

Xact Metal is currently taking orders for both its new 3D printers, and shipments are set to begin this June. The XM200C and XM200S 3D printers will be on display at the startup’s booth #1705 at RAPID + TCT in Fort Worth, Texas, which 3DPrint.com will also be attending. Xact Metal will also be in attendance at September’s Additive Manufacturing Conference in Chicago, formnext in November at Frankfurt, and the Defense Manufacturing Conference in Tennessee in the beginning of December.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

[Images: Xact Metal]

 

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