ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Technical progress in the open-source self replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) community has enabled a distributed form of additive manufacturing to expand rapidly using polymer-based materials. However, the lack of an open-source metal alternative and the high capital costs and slow throughput of proprietary commercialized metal 3-D printers has severely restricted their deployment. The applications of commercialized metal 3-D printers are limited to only rapid prototyping and expensive fi nished products. This severely restricts the access of the technology for small and medium enterprises, the developing world and for use in laboratories. This paper reports on the development of a <$2000 open-source metal 3-D printer. The metal 3-D printer is controlled with an open-source micro-controller and is a combination of a low-cost commercial gas-metal arc welder and a derivative of the Rostock, a deltabot RepRap. The bill of materials, electrical and mechanical design schematics, and basic construction and operating procedures are provided. A preliminary technical analysis of the properties of the 3-D printer and the resultant steel products are performed. The results of printing customized functional metal parts are discussed and conclusions are drawn about the potential for the technology and the future work necessary for the mass distribution of this technology
Content may be subject to copyright.
Received November 5, 2013, accepted November 20, 2013, date of current version December 9, 2013.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/ACCESS.2013.2293018
A Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
GERALD C. ANZALONE1, CHENLONG ZHANG1, BAS WIJNEN1, PAUL G. SANDERS1, AND
JOSHUA M. PEARCE2
1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton,
MI 49931, USA
Corresponding author: G. C. Anzalone (gcanzalo@mtu.edu)
ABSTRACT Technical progress in the open-source self replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) community
has enabled a distributed form of additive manufacturing to expand rapidly using polymer-based materials.
However, the lack of an open-source metal alternative and the high capital costs and slow throughput of
proprietary commercialized metal 3-D printers has severely restricted their deployment. The applications of
commercialized metal 3-D printers are limited to only rapid prototyping and expensive finished products.
This severely restricts the access of the technology for small and medium enterprises, the developing world
and for use in laboratories. This paper reports on the development of a <$2000 open-source metal 3-D
printer. The metal 3-D printer is controlled with an open-source micro-controller and is a combination of a
low-cost commercial gas-metal arc welder and a derivative of the Rostock, a deltabot RepRap. The bill of
materials, electrical and mechanical design schematics, and basic construction and operating procedures are
provided. A preliminary technical analysis of the properties of the 3-D printer and the resultant steel products
are performed. The results of printing customized functional metal parts are discussed and conclusions are
drawn about the potential for the technology and the future work necessary for the mass distribution of this
technology.
INDEX TERMS 3-D printing, additive manufacturing, distributed manufacturing, metal processing,
MIG welding, open-source, open-source electronics, open-source hardware, personal fabrication, printing,
rapid prototyping, scientific hardware, scientific instruments.
I. INTRODUCTION
Additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3-D print-
ing, has progressively matured technically, creating rapid
growth as it has proven useful for both design, small-
batch production, and potentially distributed manufacturing
[1]–[8]. The Economist speculated that these technical
advances could result in a ‘third industrial revolution’ gov-
erned by mass-customization and digital manufacturing
following traditional business paradigms [9]. Traditional
manufacturing and economic models may not apply as
the development of open-source 3-D printers makes the
scaling of mass-distributed manufacturing of high-value
objects technically and economically feasible at the indi-
vidual level [7], [10]–[18]. The largest class of open-source
3-D printers are self-replicating rapid prototypers (RepRaps),
which manufacture 57% of their mechanical components
(excluding fasteners, bolts and nuts) from sequential fused
polymer deposition [11], [19], [20]. RepRaps are con-
trolled by open-source micro-controllers such as the Arduino
and Arduino-compatiable boards [21], [22] and print with
polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
(ABS), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) among other
materials [23].
Open-source printers have seen a wide range of applica-
tions. For example, the combination of RepRaps and open-
source microcontrollers running on free software enable the
production of powerful scientific research tools at unprece-
dented low costs [24], [25]. It is now significantly less expen-
sive to design and print research tools than to buy them,
particularly if the equipment has been pre-designed; scientific
equipment designs of increasing complexity are flourishing
in free repositories [24]–[30]. However, the use of low-cost
3-D printing for scientific equipment has been limited to
polymer and ceramic materials such as for chemical reaction-
ware [26] and liquid handling [27], optical equipment [28],
analytical instrumentation [29] and physiology laboratory
components [30]. This same limitation is universal as the
lack of an open-source metal alternative and the high capital
costs and slow throughput of proprietary commercialized
metal 3-D printers has severely restricted their deployment.
VOLUME 1, 2013 2169-3536 2013 IEEE 803
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
This limitation was primarily due to economics as quality
commercial 3-D printers retail for over US$500,000, severely
restricting access to the technology for small and medium
enterprises, the developing world and for use in most labo-
ratories. Previous work has proposed the use of commercial
robotics and welding for metal 3-D printing [31]. Building on
this work, this paper reports on the development of a low-cost
open-source metal 3-D printer. The bill of materials, electrical
and mechanical design schematics, basic construction and
operating procedures are provided. A preliminary technical
analysis of the properties of the 3-D printer and the resultant
steel products are performed. The results are discussed and
conclusions are drawn about the potential for the technology
and the future work necessary for the mass distribution of
open-source 3-D metal printing.
FIGURE 1. Open-source metal 3-D printer during deposition.
II. DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION
The metal 3-D printer shown in Fig 1 consists of two units,
an automated 3-axis stage, which is controlled with the
open-source microcontroller and a low-cost commercial gas-
metal arc welder (GMAW). The stage is a derivative of the
Rostock [32], a deltabot RepRap. The design of the system
adheres to the standards of the RepRap class of 3-D printers,
so that it runs on free software, has free and open hardware
designs, requires no specialized training in welding and exist-
ing self-replicating rapid prototypers can print the primary
custom components necessary for its fabrication.
The bill of materials is shown in Table 1, which includes
the component, quantity, cost and source. The electrical
schematic is shown in Fig. 2 and the custom printed mechan-
ical components are shown in Table 2.
After acquiring the BOM shown in Table 1, the stage is
relatively straight forward to assemble. It consists of three
identical axes that are connected together by aluminum stock
to form a right equilateral triangular prism. The three identical
axes consist of six printed components (motor end, idler end,
pulley, carriage and a pair of belt terminators), two guide
rods, stepper motor, limit switch, timing belt, linear and rotary
bearings and various fasteners. A single pillar is built by
attaching the motor, limit switch, idler and the two smooth
rods. Two LM8UU bearings are inserted into the slots in the
plastic carriage and slide onto each rod and the two 608zz
bearings are fastened into the center holes in the top plastic
idler. The T5 belt is looped around the pulley and idler,
fastened together with a pair of belt terminators and then one
terminator is fastened to the carriage.
The end effector is also a printed component and is attached
to the frame by six tie rods. The tie rods are constructed from
carbon fiber rods and miniature tie rod ends used in remote
controlled models. The plastic end effector is protected from
the heat of welding by a 1.5" thick piece of calcium sili-
cate. The stepper motors, power supply and limit switches
are wired to corresponding terminals on the microcontroller
board as shown in Fig. 2, which is connected to a computer
running Linux with a USB cable. Control is provided by an
Arduino-based microcontroller board designed for RepRap 3-
D printers and requires a host computer to operate.
The welder is setup for the wire to be used for printing
by manually running beads and assuring that it is functioning
correctly. Shielding gas (75% Ar/25% CO2) is employed at a
rate of 20 CFH. The stage is placed under a fixture designed to
hold the welding gun perpendicular to the build surface. After
leveling the stage, the distance between the build surface and
nozzle is set to about 6mm by adjusting the welding gun
fixture.
The entire software tool chain is freely available
open-source software.(http://www.appropedia.org/Open-sour
ce_metal_3-D_printer). The open-source firmware (Repetier-
firmware) translates G-code commands into pulses to the
stepper motors, controlling the motion of the stage. Host soft-
ware (Repetier-Host) running on a host computer provides
an interface for loading G-code which it then sends to the
controller. Models based upon the stereolithography (STL)
standard are converted to G-code by software colloquially
known as a ‘‘slicer’’, which creates patterns from uniformly
thick slices of the model through the z-axis. Models can
be downloaded from the Internet or created by the end
user.
804 VOLUME 1, 2013
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
TABLE 1. Bill of materials for the open-source 3-D metal printer.
Upon receiving a print job, the printer controller moves
the stage into its initial position and starts the welder
feeding wire. The arc is initiated automatically and the stage
moves at a relatively constant speed laying bead in the pattern
FIGURE 2. Electrical schematic of the open-source metal 3-D printer.
dictated by G-code. The model is built in the z-direction
essentially by padding one bead atop another until the entire
depth of the model is created. The model can be hollow or par-
tially to fully infilled. Upon conclusion of printing, the stage
moves the piece away from the welding gun and terminates
wire feed and welder current. Prints approaching an hour in
length have been performed without hitting the duty cycle of
the consumer-grade welder employed in this initial investi-
gation; print duration is of course a function of the size and
complexity of the model being printed.
III. METHOD
To demonstrate the utility of the device two trials are used.
In the first, a Lincoln Power MIG 255 was employed at 15V,
35A with a feed rate of 80 ipm to produce a cup specimen to
test for water tightness and then the specimen was sectioned,
mounted, polished to 0.05 µm alumina, and etched with 3%
Nital using standard metallographic methods. Vickers micro-
hardness had a load of 300 g and a dwell time of 15 s.
The second specimen, produced with a low-cost
Miller MIG, was a custom sprocket and the digital design is
shown in Fig.3. The design of the sprocket was sliced using
Cura 13.06.4 [33] with 1.75mm layer height, 5mm/s speed,
20mm/s translate, no infill, multiple perimeters to provide
100% infill with a concentric pattern, 2.75mm nozzle, and
no retraction, which eliminates pause on layer height change.
A Millermatic 140 auto-set was run at 2 with a measured
wire feedrate of 3.5 cm/s. Both of these initial proof of
VOLUME 1, 2013 805
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
TABLE 2. The custom printed mechanical components of the open-source
metal 3-D printer, which are designed to be printed on a RepRap.
concept trials trials used 0.024’’ ER70S-6 wire and 75 Ar/25
CO2shielding gas.
IV. RESULT
The open-source 3-D printer was successful at manufacturing
impermeable metal objects and 3-D functional metal parts as
can be seen in Fig. 4. The first experiment proved to be water
tight and used solid carbon steel ER70S-6, which is deposited
with a 75% Argon/25% CO2mix to prevent spatter [34]. The
material has a high level of silicon and manganese, which
was necessary for it to be used with slightly contaminated
base materials as the sacrificial scrap steel used as substrates.
The material has already been found to have excellent wetting
FIGURE 3. Digital design of custom sprocket modified from
www.thingiverse.com/thing:10804
FIGURE 4. 3-D printed customized sprocket removed from the substrate.
action and puddle fluidity and is a standard steel welding
material [35]. The smallest feature sizes were found when
the wire feed rate was reduced while maintaining the print
head velocity as a constant. As can be seen in Fig. 4, the
sprocket is functional. The fill was not 100% upon printing as
sliced. This can be fixed with improvements in slicing as the
free software assumed the ability to change feedrate, which
has not be automated into this system. Although the concept
was proven there is still considerable optimization work to be
done, as discussed in the future work below.
The initial experiments showed that the lower voltage and
feed rate produced less heating of the workpiece, a narrower
bead, and less spatter. The welding structure was nearly fully
806 VOLUME 1, 2013
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
dense and had no visible cracking. Analysis of the top region
of Trial 1 shows that moderate cooling led to an acicular
ferrite structure (Fig. 5) that is common in low carbon welds
with high manganese filler [36]. Slower cooling rates occur-
ring at mid-section led to a polygonal ferrite structure and
lower hardness (Table 3 and Fig. 5).
FIGURE 5. Proof of concept trial 1 showing microstructure at top and
middle of print. More rapid cooling at the top produced acicular ferrite,
while slower cooling/stress relieving in the middle led to polygonal
ferrite.
TABLE 3. Proof of concept GMAW trial 1 properties.
V. DISCUSSION
In traditional welding, the weld is ‘‘self-quenched’’ by the
large surrounding thermal mass of the workpiece. This
leads to modification of the phase diagram to delineate
‘‘continuous cooling’’ regions for crack susceptibility
between the coherence and nil-ductility temperatures [37].
The region of cracking is offset to lower solute levels
than expected from the phase diagram and requires quan-
tifying both the thermodynamics and kinetics involved in
weld solidification. Weld crack sensitivity regions have been
characterized experimentally for several binary and ternary
systems [37]. This is unlike the case of 3-D metallic printing,
where the object is heated and remains hot during printing, so
cooling rates will be much slower than welding. Therefore,
it is expected that the equilibrium phase diagram will more
closely represent solidification behavior during 3-D printing.
This observation will allow utilization of the solidification
range (liquidus-solidus) to assess cracking susceptibility sim-
ilar to hot-tearing assessments in traditional metal casting. So
the embrittlement range between coherence and nil-ductility
will be defined as the solidification range between the liq-
uidus and solidus temperatures.
This project successfully used an open-source RepRap
variant to produce metal parts via 3-D metallic printing. Most
strikingly the system can be built for less than 1/100th the
cost of existing metal 3-D printers. This low cost barrier to
the fabrication of the device now enables for the first time
the possibility of widespread distributed manufacturing of
metal components. It is likely that the economic benefit for
personal production in metal will follow similar trends of
3-D polymer based printing, namely substantial consumer
savings [7]. In the developing world the potential to utilize
3-D printing for sustainable development is only enhanced
when considering metal [14]. At the same time there is
the potential for research laboratories to begin customiz-
ing 3-D printed scientific hardware in metal inhouse, which
would again expand the potential for self-fabrication of
open-source hardware and accelerate the development of
technology and science [25]. These developments, if they
became widespread, would thus enable consumers all over
the world to become producers of a much larger range
of products than is currently possible. This would have
widespread ramifications economically, socially and polit-
ically as it allows for a complex advanced technological
‘post-scarcity’ society [38]–[40] and future work is nec-
essary to quantify these impacts. In addition, early work
on the environmental life cycle analysis on both polymer
3-D printing [41] and proprietary metal 3-D printing [42]
indicate that additive manufacturing has an environmen-
tal advantage as many 3-D printed products have substan-
tially smaller embodied energy and emissions compared to
conventionally-manufactured goods. All of these indicate the
potential for creation of a completely new and sizable market
for welding-like products to be used for fabrication of user-
customized metal components in the broader consumer mar-
ketplace.
These results have proven the concept, but as this technol-
ogy will evolve in a similar open-source ecosystem to that
of polymer 3-D printing, rapid diffusion and improvement in
the technology can be expected with applications across many
types of industry and scientific disciplines.
VI. LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE WORK
The system as designed is limited in its application to desk-
tops and is more appropriately sited in a garage or shop
facility with adequate fire protection and ventilation. Signif-
icantly more personal protective equipment is necessary for
safe operation than conventional polymer RepRaps including
clothing to prevent burns from sparks and uv exposure, safety
glasses/welding helmet, flame-resistant gloves and appropri-
ate footwear.
There is considerable future work to develop this tech-
nology to make it appropriate for widespread deployment.
VOLUME 1, 2013 807
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
This paper can be divided into three main tasks: 1) elec-
tromechanical, 2) slicing and printer control, and 3) materials
science.
A. ELECTROMECHANICAL
First, the travel speed of the stage needs to be optimized as
a function of the wire feed rate and voltage for commercially
available thin welding wires. This will enable improvements
in resolution. Next, as the prototype developed here has
two separate controls the controls of the stage need to be
coupled to the MIG. In a traditional plastic RepRap 3-D
printer the controls of the extruder enable precise control
and feedback of both the flow rate governed by the extruder
rate and the temperature. Here the wire feed rate is parallels
to the extruder rate, but control of the deposition is signif-
icantly more challenging than the relatively simple control
of extruder temperature and feed rate exercised by polymer
3-D printers. To complete this task two parallel paths could
be followed. The first would be the design a 3-D printed unit
to interface directly with standard MIG welder controls to
enable control of both wire speed and voltage. The second
would be to focus on integrating directly with the electronics
of the MIG controls, bypassing analog user inputs altogether.
The latter would provide for a streamlined new product, while
the former would enable anyone with an existing welder to
use it as a 3-D metal print head. The latter path could be
further improved by developing a thermal or deposition rate
feedback loop to enable the system to adjust MIG settings
during printing. This will be important on more complex
3-D geometries to ensure that the optimal temperature is
maintained at the working material.
B. SLICING AND PRINTER CONTROLLER
The current prototype can only print objects having vertical
holes. A protocol for enabling bridges needs to be developed
and integrated into an open-source slicer in which the power
to the welder is turned off while the travel of the head and wire
feed continues. After a bridge of non-melted wire is laid down
the welder is returned to operation tacking it down on the
far side of the bridge. In addition, for each printing material,
an overhang maxima must be found and then input into the
slicer to limit the overhang for a given region of deposition
space. A new printer controller could be developed to enable
self-tuning of the entire system and facilitate monitoring and
controlling of the various additional variables associated with
3-D printing with a welder.
C. MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT AND RECYCLING
The limit on the resolution of printing using this technique is
created by the wire radius, further work is needed to assess
the potential for increasing resolution by decreasing the wire
diameter to less than 0.024", the prevalent smallest diam-
eter material currently available. These wires can be made
of a wide range of various metals and alloys, for example
aluminum. Highly recycled aluminum beverage containers
could be utilized as a form of already distributed feedstock
in 3-D metal printing. 3004 aluminum is used for the bottom
and sides of the can and comprises about 75 wt% of the
can, while the top is 5052 aluminum and is about 25 wt%
of the can [43]. The composition of the remelted cans has
a magnesium content that should produce hot cracking [43].
New alloys need to be developed for 3-D printing using
remelted cans as feedstock while assuring minimal additions
to avoid hot cracking. It is likely that a 2-3 wt% Mg addition
will be sufficient to eliminate heat cracking, making beverage
cans feasible feedstock for 3-D printing.
VII. CONCLUSION
This paper has successfully provided the proof of concept of
a <$2000 open-source metal 3-D printer. Steel components
could be printed water tight with a single exterior layer. In
addition, the 3-D printing of customized functional mechan-
ical parts from standard STL files was demonstrated. The
low-cost barrier to the fabrication of the device and the libre
source plans now enables for the first time the possibility of
widespread distributed manufacturing of metal components.
There is a distinct potential for the creation of a completely
new and sizable market for welding-like products to be used
for fabrication of user-customized metal components in the
broader consumer marketplace. As this technology is likely
to follow a similar evolutionary path to that of polymer
open-source 3-D printing, rapid diffusion and improvement
in technology can be expected with applications across many
types of industry and scientific disciplines.
VIII. ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to acknowledge technical support
from J. Kolacz.
REFERENCES
[1] A. Gebhardt, Rapid Prototyping. Berlin, Germany: Hanser Verlag, 2003.
[2] W. Sheng, N. Xi, H. Chen, Y. Chen, and M. Song, ‘‘Part geomet-
ric understanding for tool path planning in additive manufacturing,’’ in
Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Comput. Intell. Robot. Autom., vol. 3. Jul. 2003,
pp. 1515–1520.
[3] N. Crane, J. Tuckerman, and G. N. Nielson, ‘‘Self-assembly in addi-
tive manufacturing: Opportunities and obstacles,’’ Rapid Prototyping J.,
vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 211–217, 2011.
[4] N. Lass, A. Tropmann, A. Ernst, R. Zengerle, and P. Koltay, ‘‘Rapid
prototyping of 3D microstructures by direct printing of liquid metal
at temperatures up to 500 řC using the starjet technology,’’ in Proc.
16th Int. Solid-State Sensors, Actuat. Microsyst. Conf., Jun. 2011,
pp. 1452–1455.
[5] V. Petrovic, J. V. H. Gonzalez, O. J. Ferrando, J. D. Gordillo,
J. R. B. Puchades, and L. P. Grinan, ‘‘Additive layered manufacturing:
Sectors of industrial application shown though case studies,’Int. J. Prod.
Res., vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 1061–1079, 2011.
[6] S. Upcraft and R. Fletcher, ‘‘The rapid prototyping technologies,’Assem-
bly Autom., vol. 23, pp. 318–330, Jan. 2012.
[7] B. T. Wittbrodt, A. G. Glover, J. Laureto, G. C. Anzalone, D. Oppliger,
J. L. Irwin, et al., ‘‘Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manu-
facturing with open-source 3-D printers,’Mechatronics, vol. 23, no. 6,
pp. 713–726, 2013.
[8] H. Lipson and M. Kurman, Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing,
1st ed. New York, NY, USA: Wiley, Feb. 2013.
[9] The Economist, ‘‘A third industrial revolution: Special report: Manufactur-
ing and innovation,’’ Apr. 2012.
808 VOLUME 1, 2013
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
[10] N. Gershenfeld, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop—From
Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication. New York, NY, USA: Basic
Books, 2005.
[11] R. Jones, P. Haufe, and E. Sells, ‘‘RepRap—The replicating rapid proto-
typer,’’ Robotica, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 177–191, Jan. 2011.
[12] J. Corney, ‘‘The next and last industrial revolution?’’ Assembly Autom.,vol.
25, no. 4, p. 257, 2005.
[13] E. Malone and H. Lipson, ‘‘Fab@Home: The personal desktop fabricator
kit,’Rapid Prototyping J., vol. 13, pp. 245–255, May 2007.
[14] J. Pearce, C. Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, and A. Nosrat,
‘‘3-D printing of open source appropriate technologies for self-directed
sustainable development,’’ J. Sustain. Develop., vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 17–29,
2010.
[15] S. Bradshaw, A. Bowyer, and P. Haufe, ‘‘The intellectual property impli-
cations of low-cost 3D printing,’SCRIPTed, vol 7, no. 1, pp. 1–27, Apr.
2010.
[16] D. Holland, G. O’Donnell, and G. Bennett, ‘‘Open design and the reprap
project,’’ in Proc. 27th Int. Manuf. Conf., Sep. 2010, pp. 97–106.
[17] M. Weinberg. (2013, Feb. 25). It Will be Awesome if They Don’t
Screw it Up [Online]. Available: http://nlc1.nlc.state.ne.us/epubs/
creativecommons/3DPrintingPaperPublicKnowledge.pdf
[18] J. Cano, ‘‘The Cambrian explosion of popular 3D printing,’’ Int. J. Artif.
Intell. Interact. Multimedia, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 30–32, 2011.
[19] E. Sells, S. Bailard, Z. Smith, and A. Bowyer, ‘‘RepRap: The replicating
rapid prototype: Maximizing curstomizability by breeding the means of
production,’’ in Handbook of Research in Mass Customization and Per-
sonalization: Strategies and Concepts, vol. 1, F. T. Piller and M. M. Tseng,
Eds. Singapore: World Scientific, 2010, pp. 568–580.
[20] R. Arnott, ‘‘The RepRap project—Open source meets 3D printing,’’
in Computer and Information Science Seminar Series. Dunedin, New
Zealand: Univ. Otago Library, Aug. 2008.
[21] (2013, Oct. 31). Arduino [Online]. Available: http://www.arduino.cc/
[22] J. Kentzer, B. Koch, M. Thiim, R. W. Jones, and E. Villumsen, ‘‘An open
source hardware-based mechatronics project: The replicating rapid 3-D
printer,’’ in Proc. IEEE 4th ICOM, May 2011, pp. 1–8.
[23] C. Baechler, M. DeVuono, and J. M. Pearce, ‘‘Distributed recycling of
waste polymer into RepRap feedstock,’Rapid Protyping J., vol. 19, no. 2,
pp. 118–125, 2013.
[24] J. M. Pearce, ‘‘Building research equipment with free, open-source hard-
ware,’Science, vol. 337, no. 6100, pp. 1303–1304, Sep. 2012.
[25] J. M. Pearce, Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and
Reduce Research Costs. New York, NY, USA: Elsevier, 2014.
[26] M. D. Symes, P. J. Kitson, J. Yan, C. J. Richmond, G. J. T. Cooper,
R. W. Bowman, et al., ‘‘Integrated 3D-printed reactionware for chemical
synthesis and analysis,’Nature Chem., vol. 4, pp. 349–354, Apr. 2012.
[27] P. J. Kitson, M. D. Symes, V. Dragone, and L. Cronin, ‘‘Combining
3D printing and liquid handling to produce user-friendly reactionware
for chemical synthesis and purification,’Chem. Sci., vol. 4, no. 8,
pp. 3099–3103, Jun. 2013.
[28] C. Zhang, N. C. Anzalone, R. P. Faria, and J. M. Pearce, ‘‘Open-source
3D-printable optics equipment,’PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 3, p. e59840, Mar.
2013.
[29] G. Anzalone, A. Glover, and J. M. Pearce, ‘‘Open-source colorimeter,’
Sensors, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 5338–5346, 2013.
[30] M. S. Sulkin, E. Widder, C. C. Shao, K. M. Holzem, C. Gloschat, S. R. Gut-
brod, et al., ‘‘3D printing physiology laboratory technology,’’ Amer. J.
Physiol. Heart Circulatory Physiol., vol. 305 nos. H1569–H1573, 2013,
DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00599.
[31] F. Ribeiro, ‘‘3D printing with metals,’’ Comput. Control Eng. J., vol. 9,
no. 1, pp. 31–38, 1998.
[32] J. C. Rocholl. (2013, Oct. 31). Rostock [Online]. Available:
http://reprap.org/wiki/Rostock
[33] (2013, Oct. 31). Ultimaker [Online]. Available: http://wiki.
ultimaker.com/Cura
[34] (2013, Oct. 31). Air Gas [Online]. Available: http://www.airgas.
com/content/details.aspx?id=7000000000143
[35] (2013, Oct. 31). Licoln Electric [Online]. Available: http://
www.lincolnelectric.com/assets/global/Products/Consumable_CutLength
Consumables-Lincoln-LincolnER70S-6/c9102.pdf
[36] R. A. Farrar and P. L. Harrison, ‘‘Acicular ferrite in carbon-
manganese weld metals: An overview,’’ J. Mater. Sci., vol. 22, no. 11,
pp. 3812–3820, Nov. 1987.
[37] J. F. Lancaster, Metallurgy of Welding, 5th ed. Cambridge, U.K.: Chapman
& Hall, 1993.
[38] R. Chernomas, ‘‘Keynes on post-scarcity society,’’ J. Econ. Issues, vol. 18,
no. 4, pp. 1007–1026, Dec. 1984.
[39] A. Giddens, ‘‘Affluence, poverty and the idea of a post-scarcity society,’’
Develop. Change, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 365–377, 1996.
[40] M. Bookchin, Post-Scarcity Anarchism. Oakland, CA, USA: AK Press,
Jan. 2004.
[41] M. Kreiger and J. M. Pearce, ‘‘Environmental life cycle analysis of dis-
tributed 3-D printing and conventional manufacturing of polymer prod-
ucts,’ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng., vol. 1, no. 12, pp. 1511–1519, 2013, DOI:
10.1021/sc400093k.
[42] (2013, Oct. 31). Aerospace: Light, Cost and Resource
Effective—Researching Sustainability of Direct Metal Laser
Sintering (DMLS) [Online]. Available: http://www.eos.info/press/
customer_case_studies/eads
[43] D. L. Olson, T. A. Siewert, S. Liu, and G. R. Edwards, ASM Handbook,
vol. 6. Materials Park, OH, USA: ASM, 1993.
GERALD C. ANZALONE received the B.Sc.
degree in metallurgy from the Colorado School
of Mines, Golden, CO, USA, and the M.S. degree
in civil engineering from Michigan Technological
University, Houghton, MI, USA. He is a Lab-
oratory Supervisor and Research Scientist with
Michigan Tech, investigating a number of
materials-related research areas, including utiliz-
ing open-source hardware and software solutions
for scientific investigations.
CHENLONG ZHANG is currently pursuing the
Ph.D. degree with the Material Science and Engi-
neering Department, Michigan Technological Uni-
versity. He received the B.S. degree in chemistry
from the University of Xiamen, Xiamen, China, in
2011, and he has been a Material Scientist with
Michigan Technological University since 2012.
His current research interests include lower-cost
3-D printable hardware, 3-D printable lab-
ware, and design of next generation rapid
prototyping facilities.
BAS WIJNEN received two master’s degrees
in physics and teaching from the University of
Groningen, The Netherlands. He is currently pur-
suing the Ph.D. degree in materials science and
engineering with Michigan Technological Univer-
sity. His research focused on RepRap 3-D printers.
He specializes in computer programming, and is a
strong supporter of free and open source hardware
and software, in particular in educational environ-
ments. His research interests in 3-D printing, along
with its potential to decentralize production.
VOLUME 1, 2013 809
G. C. Anzalone et al.: Low-Cost Open-Source Metal 3-D Printer
PAUL G. SANDERS received the B.S. degree
in metallurgical and materials engineering from
Michigan Technological University and the Ph.D.
degree in materials science from Northwestern
University. His Ph.D. research was on the pro-
cessing, structure, and mechanical properties of
nanocrystalline palladium and copper. He was
a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Argonne National
Laboratory and Harvard University using lasers for
solidification processing and material characteri-
zation. He was involved in chassis materials (brake rotors and wheels) in
Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. He was with
Jaguar Land Rover as a Six Sigma Black Belt. He was an Assistant Profes-
sor with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Michigan
Technological University. His Solidification Theory and Practice research
team designs metallic alloys and processes by integrating computational
materials engineering with structured (designed) experiments and laboratory
confirmation runs. He primarily works in aluminum alloy design, but has also
worked in ferrous, copper, magnesium, and zinc alloy systems.
JOSHUA M. PEARCE received the Ph.D. degree
in materials engineering from Pennsylvania State
University. He then developed the first Sustain-
ability program in the Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education as an Assistant Professor of
physics at the Clarion University of Pennsylva-
nia and helped develop the Applied Sustainability
graduate engineering program while at Queen’s
University, Canada. He is currently an Associate
Professor cross-appointed in the Department of
Materials Science and Engineering and in the Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, where he runs
the Open Sustainability Technology Research Group. His research concen-
trates on the use of open source appropriate technology to find collaborative
solutions to problems in sustainability and poverty reduction. His research
spans areas of electronic device physics and materials engineering of solar
photovoltaic cells, and 3-D printing, but also includes applied sustainability
and energy policy. He is the author of Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your
Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs.
810 VOLUME 1, 2013
... As a prime example, a proof of concept is provided. This example providing the details on open-source devices can be adapted to a metal printing-related task with a lab-made device developed by Pearce et al. 3 However, accessing the droplet-based metal fabrication systems still poses a challenge with their high costs and operational difficulties. At this point, critical aspects of some of the most important droplet generators developed so far have been focused. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, a metal droplet generator developed with an open-source concept is presented. The continuous droplet generation process was achieved without inert gas assistance. Owing to this desktop device, which is proposed as an alternative to high-cost metal printing devices, users can achieve stable droplets continuously at low costs. Taking into account the pressure balance inside the melting region, the necessary amount of a metal wire feed was first revealed. The droplets generated which are in good agreement with the theoretical calculations were then ejected via mechanically restricted vibrational impacts. The reproducibility of the system was also tested. The droplet formation stages were classified, and the stable parameter groups were revealed in accordance with the measurements. Moreover, the wire type material feeding issue in metal droplet generators, which were insufficiently studied so far, has also been examined. A dynamic feeder mechanism was introduced in detail. In conclusion, Ball Grid Array deposition and functional circuit printing have been successfully achieved. This study on a continuous metal droplet formation is also important for future studies because the structure of the device is easily accessible and modifiable.
... arc additive manufacturing [15]. The GMAW system can be set up for as little as $1,200 [16]. Additionally, this technology enables producers to reuse the same substrate several times, lowering overall manufacturing costs [17]. ...
Article
Additive manufacturing is capable to reduce carbon footprints in manufacturing for sustainable development, hence gaining popularity day by day. In contrast to subtractive manufacturing, additive manufacturing fabricates part by depositing the right quantity of material at the right place as successive thin layers, so as to reduce waste and carbon footprints. There are various techniques available for additive manufacturing requiring materials in powder form to create innovative, energy-efficient, and economic structures and design with low buy-to-fly ratios, which were impossible with traditional manufacturing techniques. Wire arc additive manufacturing is one such candidate technique of adaptable nature that can revolutionise and transform metal 3-D printing/manufacturing as a result of recent technological advancements. This is capable to print three-dimensional high-quality, cost-effective, intricate metal components that are difficult to develop by other conventional methods and therefore widely used in the field of aerospace, automobile, and several industrial sectors. This article aims to review various aspects of the wire arc additive manufacturing process such as microstructure and mechanical behaviour, defects, and residual stress development in fabricated steels/ parts, followed by the summary and scope for future work.
Article
Full-text available
Proprietary metal 3D printing is still relegated to relatively expensive systems that have been constructed over years of expensive trial-and-error to obtain optimum 3D printing settings. Low-cost open-source metal 3D printers can potentially democratize metal additive manufacturing; however, significant resources are required to redevelop optimal printing parameters for each metal on new machines. In this study, the particle swam optimization (PSO) experimenter, a free and open-source software package, is utilized to obtain the optimal printing parameters for a tungsten inert gas-based metal open source 3D printer. The software is a graphical user interface implementation of the PSO method and is designed specifically for hardware-in-loop testing. It uses the input of experimental variables and their respective ranges, and then proposes iterations for experiments. A custom fitness function is defined to characterize the experimental results and provide feedback to the algorithm for low-cost metal additive manufacturing. Four separate trials are performed to determine the optimal parameters for 3D printing. First, an experiment is designed to deposit and optimize the parameters for a single line. Second, the parameters for a single-layer plane is optimized experimentally. Third, the optimal printing parameters for a cube is determined experimentally. Fourth, the line optimization experiment is revised and reconducted using different shield gas parameters. The results and limitations are presented and discussed in the context of expanding wire arc additive manufacturing to more systems and material classes for distributed digital manufacturing.
Article
Full-text available
Article
To address the materials processing challenges resulting from high levels of heat input in wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), a novel wire arc metal additive manufacturing method using pulsed arc plasma (PAP-WAAM) was developed in this study. In this method, the pulsed arc plasma generated by the pulsed voltage was used as the heat source. Owing to the applied pulsed voltage, the arc plasma was alternately ignited and extinguished during additive manufacturing. By adjusting the relative positions of the tungsten electrode, filler wire, and substrate, the arc plasma was ignited between the tungsten electrode and the filler wire. This increased the proportion of discharge energy allocated to the filler wire, thus reducing the overall heat input required for material deposition. Furthermore, no heat was transferred to the deposited material because the arc plasma was extinguished during the discharge interval. Consequently, the previously deposited material was rapidly cooled. Preliminary experimental results showed that the newly developed PAP-WAAM process used 37 % less heat input than the conventional gas tungsten arc welding-based WAAM (GT-WAAM) process at the same wire feed speed of 350 mm/min. The PAP-WAAM process yielded smaller melt pools, higher cooling rates, and less heat accumulation than the GT-WAAM process, which was mainly attributed to the combined effects of low heat input and efficient heat dissipation by the pulsed discharge during PAP-WAAM. As a result, PAP-WAAM produced finer geometric features and microstructures as well as greater tensile strength than GT-WAAM.
Article
Fused filament fabrication (FFF) has seen an upsurge in its utilization towards development of tailored made materials of polymer base. The advancement and diversity in fabricating the polymer composite parts by using FFF has seen the embracement of this technology in wider aspects, ranging from automotive, aerospace, construction and has marched towards day to day requirements. This research article focuses on development of polymer composite; by using flyash (FA), an industrial waste produced during coal combustion, as reinforcement in Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) matrix, to study the physical and mechanical properties. FA, which is primarily made up of metal oxides, plays an imperative role as reinforcement. Easily and abundantly available, FA is being used in several applications to reduce the landfills utilization and also helps the environment. In this study FA was added as reinforcement in 5 and 10 wt. % respectively to ABS matrix and was developed into filament of 1.75mm diameter. The developed ABS+FA polymer composite using FFF, were analyzed for physical and mechanical properties as per American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Microstructure studies were carried out for the developed composite to understand their behavior in enhancing the dimensional accuracy and tensile strength with incremental addition of FA up to 10 wt%. Tensile strength was enhanced by 28.19% and 36.13% for ABS + 5wt. % FA and ABS + 10wt. % FA respectively. Dimensional stability was also enhanced. Similarly, surface roughness analysis was carried out and it was observed to reduce with addition of FA. The surface roughness measurements provided suitable results of decrement by 9.64% and 14.6% for ABS + 5wt. % FA and ABS + 10wt. % FA respectively. Overall, the usage of FA along with FFF, has paved a path in sustainable and green technology in manufacturing.
Chapter
The development of additive manufacturing (AM) technology in recent years has allowed the successful fabrication of complex and customized shape biomedical implants. However, the existing AM techniques for the fabrication of metal implants such as selective laser sintering/melting, electron beam melting, and laser engineered net shaping suffer some major limitations such as slow manufacturing speed, limited part size availability, lack of compatible working materials, and high capital cost. Therefore, to overcome these limitations, researchers have utilized the fundamental concepts of welding techniques for AM technology development. These techniques include wire and arc-based technologies such as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), and plasma arc welding (PAW). Generally, an electric arc is used as the heat source and a solid metal wire as the feedstock. Recently, with extension to AM with arc, researchers have also introduced a new power source with different waveform designs, known as cold metal transfer (CMT). CMT offers a unique advantage of a higher deposition rate with lower heat input as compared to other arc-based AM techniques. Hence, this chapter aims to discuss the fundamental concepts and principles of welding-based additive manufacturing (WBAM) technology for the manufacturing of complex and customized shape biomedical parts. Furthermore, an insight into the major developments in WBAM systems has also been discussed. The working principles of different WBAM processes such as wire and arc, cold metal transfer along with their advantages and disadvantages have been discussed. Details related to the technological concept, process variants, materials, and product characterization have been highlighted. Finally, current applications and future scope of currently developed WBAM technology have been discussed in this chapter.KeywordsAdditive manufacturingMetalWeldingBiomedicalWire and arc additive manufacturingCold metal transfer
Article
Metal 3-D printing has been relegated to high-cost proprietary high-resolution systems and low-resolution low-cost metal inert gas (MIG) systems. In order to provide a path to high-resolution, low-cost, metal 3-D printing, this manuscript proposes a new open source metal 3-D printer design based around a low-cost tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder coupled to a commercial open source self replicating rapid prototyper. Optimal printing parameters for the machine are acquired using a novel computational intelligence software. TIG has many advantages over MIG, such as having a low heat input, clean beads, and the potential for both high-resolution prints as well as insitu alloying of complex geometries. The design can be adapted to most RepRap-class systems and has a basic yet powerful free and open source software (FOSS) package for the characterization of the 3-D printer. This system can be used for fabricating custom metal scientific components and tools, near net-shape structural metal component rapid prototyping, adapting and depositing on existing metal structures, and is deployable for in-field prototyping for appropriate technology applications.
Book
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
In the late 1970s 3D printing started to become established as a manufacturing technology. Thirty years on the cost of 3D printing machines is falling to the point where private individuals in the developed world may easily own them. They allow anyone to print complicated engineering parts entirely automatically from design files that it is straightforward to share over the Internet. However, although the widespread use of 3D printers may well have both economic and environmental advantages over conventional methods of manufacturing and distributing goods, there may be concerns that such use could be constrained by the operation of intellectual property (IP) law. This paper examines existing IP legislation and case law in the contexts of the possible wide take-up of this technology by both small firms and private individuals. It splits this examination into five areas: copyright, design protection, patents, trade marks, and passing off. Reassuringly, and perhaps surprisingly, it is concluded that – within the UK at least -private 3D printer owners making items for personal use and not for gain are exempt from the vast majority of IP constraints, and that commercial users, though more restricted, are less so than might be imagined.
Article
Full-text available
We use two 3D-printing platforms as solid- and liquid-handling fabricators, producing sealed reactionware for chemical synthesis with the reagents, catalysts and purification apparatus integrated into monolithic devices. Using this reactionware, a multi-step reaction sequence was performed by simply rotating the device so that the reaction mixture flowed through successive environments under gravity, without the need for any pumps or liquid-handling prior to product retrieval from the reactionware in a pure form
Book
Updates: https://www.appropedia.org/Open-source_Lab Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Scientific Research Costs details the development of the free and open-source hardware revolution. The combination of open-source 3D printing and open-source microcontrollers running on free software enables scientists, engineers, and lab personnel in every discipline to develop powerful research tools at unprecedented low costs. After reading Open-Source Lab, you will be able to: >Lower equipment costs by making your own hardware >Build open-source hardware for scientific research > Actively participate in a community in which scientific results are more easily replicated and cited
Article
Since its inception in XIX century Germany, the physiology laboratory has been a complex and expensive research enterprise involving experts in various fields of science and engineering. Physiology research has been critically dependent upon cutting edge technological support of mechanical, electrical, optical, and more recently computer engineers. Evolution of modern experimental equipment is constrained by lack of direct communication between the physiological community and industry producing this equipment. Fortunately, recent advances in open source technologies, including 3D printing, open source hardware and software, present an exciting opportunity to bring the design and development of research instrumentation to the end user - life scientists. Here we provide step-by-step instructions on how to develop customized, cost-effective experimental equipment for physiology laboratories.