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Wire 3D Printer

A 3D printer for printing with welding wire

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This is my attempt to build a 3D printer for printing metal. The wire gets melted by high current which flows from the printhead across the wire to the buildplate. The current is created by an old microwave oven transformer with a 50mm² cable as secondary coil. The heating intensity is controlled by a phase-fired controller connected to the primary coil which can be controlled by the part cooling fan parameter of the slicer software. The printer is compatible with any FDM printer slicer software.

I started this project because I ever wanted to print metal parts since I bought my first 3D printer back in 2017, but there are still no affordable and easy to use metal 3D printers out there. The project is inspired by https://www.digitalalloys.com/technology/ 

which also heats the wire with high current instead of an arc.

The printer is actually a FDM 3D printer built from an old microwave oven transformer and some other not special parts, which prints with welding wire instead of plastic filament. The only difference to a normal plastic FDM printer is, that the heat (around 1450°C) is created by high current flowing trough thin wire instead of plastic filament melting in a heated nozzle.

The printer is also suitable for welding/heating small metal parts.

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  • 24 × 3030 Corner Brackets For the frame
  • 6 × NEMA 17 For XYZ and E Axis
  • 2 × M10 Push In Fittings For the Wire Feeder
  • 3 × 90° M6 Push In Fittings (Optional) For the Shielding Gas Option
  • 5 × TMC 2130 Stepper Driver

View all 77 components

  • A Simple Solution

    Dominik Meffert05/06/2020 at 01:33 5 comments

    After weeks of failed prints and frustration I found a very simple and actually very obvious solution to the problem of underextrusion and the thing with the clearance.

    It's quite embarrassing that I didn't thought of it earlier...

    Wire Printing Test

    This time it printed better, but I got some warping which maybe is a material effect like warping on ABS...

    So what I did....I just changed the steps per unit in the marlin config from 40 to 400 and... there was no more underextrusion :)

    With the higher extrusion rate it's also possible to push the melted material down with the unmelted material, so that the nozzle can stay away from the surface of the printed object. While this is not very pecise at the moment and depends on the feedrate, printing speed and the time which the material needs to melt, it can maybe be precise controlled with some sort of torque measurement and adjustment in the future, so that the extrusion feedrate gets automatically adjusted to the selected force setting instead of a value calculated by the slicer software.

    I don't know at the moment whether it's a solution or a workaround to use the feedrate for solving this problem instead of changing the power system in some way, so that it would work without the clearance, but at least it seems to work :)

  • Summary of unsolved Problems

    Dominik Meffert05/05/2020 at 15:43 3 comments

    Here is a summary of the problems that prevent the printer from working as planned.

    At the moment I have no solution for them.

    I really want to get the printer to work as planned, but at the moment I'm stuck.

    -The problem that happens most of the time is that the wire get stuck in the nozzle.

    - The printing process behaves like FDM printing but I can not use the same extrusion and layer height settings, because if I use a layer height smaller than the diameter of the wire the nozzle get stuck. Also with the right extrusion settings for plastic there is too less material extrusion. It seems like the wire lost its volume while melting...

    - For the first layer I need a great distance to the build plate (2mm+) because if the distance is too small arcs form and the wire get stuck in the nozzle.

    - When using to less intensity the wire doesn't weld to the buildplate, but by using too much intensity the wire get stuck.

    - If the extrusion is too high, so that it reaches the nozzle, the wire get stuck.

    Thanks to @Sergei for the idea of reducing the transformer winding, what leads to less arcing.

    If someone could help me with an idea to solve the problems I would be very happy :)

    - I just had an idea. Maybe a small ceramic nozzle extension could prevent the wire from getting stuck at all - the wire could melt in the ceramic tip, but should not weld to it because it's ceramic.

  • Taking a Break / Continue with my other Projects

    Dominik Meffert04/24/2020 at 19:02 7 comments

    For now I will stop working on the Wire 3D Printer and continue working on my other projects. In case I should find a solution to the problems that I have with the printer at the moment, I will let you know.

    For now I'm planning to work on the Sand/Powder/Clay Project to gather experience in deposition of powder, sand and clay and heating the printed object in a furnace to create ceramic, clay, glass or copper infiltrated metal parts.

    The thing is I need to find a way to 3D print metal parts reliably for projects that will follow like robots and rovers that should be used outdoors to carry some loads.

    So I will continue with something powder based which gets post processed in a furnace.

  • Just a Thought

    Dominik Meffert04/23/2020 at 08:02 7 comments

    Until now I had not much luck with printing solid metal parts, but could print brittle metal parts quite good. They had (almost) the exact shape of the printed object but were not completly solid and not resilient.

    If I could find a way to fuse the loose pieces together without too much shrinkage, oxidation or deformation I could maybe create even stronger metal parts than with (working) printing alone.

    In the last few days/weeks I thought about whether I ever can get the settings right and whether I can print usable metal parts and maybe the answer is .... the way I try it - no. I'm also not good at finding the right printing settings (I'm only printing with PLA at the moment because nothing else works :) - That's the reason why I hope that someone builds my project who is better in finding the right settings, so that he/she can share the right settings with the community that everyone can print metal parts at home.

    But maybe I can create something like "green body parts" which need just another step to be completed (no debinding). And maybe this way it's not like all or nothing, but "the better the printed object, the better the solid part" instead of complete failed print.

    Do you think this could work?

    And do you know a way to melt steel (1450°C) without loosing it's shape? (maybe sintering or something simpler from which I don't know at the moment that it exists :)

    When I think about it ...I'm totally motivated to build my own sinter furnace/heat treatment furnace ....

    Has anyone done this before?

    The brittle pieces are around 1x1mm or larger, so they are more like pellets than powder. Maybe this could be a problem in terms of sintering/heat treatment, but I don't know.

  • New Buildplate

    Dominik Meffert04/16/2020 at 04:46 7 comments

    Actually I wanted to use a thin carbon steel sheet clamped on the buildplate as surface material which can be swapped out if it's damaged from printing. But the 2mm steel plate that I used got heavily deformed during testing due to the heat.

    The colorful dots on the backside came from circuit breaker stress tests and welding tests. There is also the shape of the 20*20mm test cube on the backside.

    It seems like 2mm sheet metal is too thin for the heat, and so I ordered a 5mm 250*250mm steel plate for using as buildplate.

    The material is relatively cheap so if after several prints the buildplate got damaged you can swap out the entire buildplate and continue printing.

    The new buildplate should get delivered in the next few days or weeks.

    The new buildplate got delivered and with it probing works again :)

    With the old buildplate it failed almost every time so I couldn't use it.

    So the clearance should be the same now across the whole buildplate. 

    First I set the clearance to 1mm - what was too less because I had a lot of arcing between the nozzle + wire and the buildplate. I set another mm of clearance in the slicer software which seemed to work better, but because of some other wrong settings the result was very brittle. 

  • Added the Components

    Dominik Meffert04/14/2020 at 23:06 0 comments

    I added the components that you need to build the Wire 3D Printer.

    If you are interesred in this project or in spreading low cost metal 3D printing in the maker community, consider building your own Wire 3D Printer or a remix of it with your own ideas :)

  • Getting the first layer right

    Dominik Meffert04/10/2020 at 18:06 1 comment

    Even if the hardware works as it should...without the right settings printing is impossible.

    I will try to figure out the right settings to get the first layer right every time on every object.

    If I can get a good first layer, the printing progress is a step closer to success.

    I think I should start documenting the failed attempts...

    For this I used the default Simplify3D settings. I only changed the global Z offset to 2mm and the extrusion multiplier to x5.

    The print failed due to the travel speed of 4800mm/min was to fast for the T8 threaded rods. Because it was the first layer it was just half the speed (first layer speed default setting: 50%). The print would have failed anyway because of the 0.2mm layer height which doesn't match to a x5 extrusion multiplier.

    It sounds strange but that was the best print for the last two weeks or so :)

    I think that the speed has made the difference. For the last weeks I tried printing with less speed what has lead to nothing but failed prints....

    So it should be the best to print not slower than needed.

    In this video I used the Simplify3D default settings but changed some settings: 

    Nozzle Diameter 0.8mm 

    Extrusion Width 0.8mm 

    Global Z Offset 2mm

    (Layer Height 0.2mm) 

    Extrusion Multiplier x5,5

    Default Printing Speed 2400mm/min

    First Layer Speed 100%

    First Layer Hight 100%

    First Layer Width 100%

    Temperature 0°C 

    Cooling Layer 1 45%

    Startcode: 

    M106 P0 S70 (For Probing)

    G28 

    M106 P0 S120 (For Heating)

    It seems like this settings are good for the first layer. I could print the same object multiple times successfully. But unfortunately it's only the first layer that works out. The second layer ends up in stubs of melted wire. That happens because the wire melts, but instead of fusing together with the underlaying layer, the layer next to it and also the "extruded" wire it breaks and looses the connection with the buildplate, what creates a stub. This happens every millimeter and leads to a brittle layer. 

    At the moment I don't know what I could do against this behavior but maybe I will find it out.....

  • More Problems which need to be solved

    Dominik Meffert04/09/2020 at 22:34 2 comments

    I did a test run with the new nozzle and the shielding gas system and homing + probing works as good as before.

    Unfortunately it solved none of the problems that I have at the moment. It's like before. Whether I do use shielding gas or not seems to have no effect on the reliability of the printing progress, but it doesn't hurt to have the ability to use it. Maybe if everything else works it can lead to better part quality.

    The top 3 problems that causes the print to fail are:

    75% of failed prints:

     Wire got stuck in the nozzle

    20% of failed prints:

    "Exruded" material reached the hight of the nozzle and the toolhead crashed into it. (Overextrusion, uneven layer hight)

    5% of failed prints:

     Wire don't stuck to the buildplate (Too less heat)

    I think the last two problems can be solved via the settings and by solving the first problem which is a hardware problem.

    The wire get stuck in the nozzle whenever it looses its electrical connection to the buildplate while the heat reaches into the nozzle. When that happens the melted wire in the nozzle cools down in a fraction of a second and because the nozzle itself is not heated but the wire instead is, it gets stuck. 

    But in most cases it doesn't stick very strong in the nozzle. Sometimes the feeder motor is able to push the deformed wire out so that the print continues until it get stuck stronger what leads to a failed print.

    When that happens I have to release the bowden tube from the toolhead and push it back about 10cm so that I can grab the wire with pliers. Then I can push the wire with low force in the direction of the nozzle to get it out for the next printing attempt.

    If I could find a way to prevent the wire from getting stuck it would be a huge increase in reliability for the printing progress.

    Maybe I could use a direct drive system or a Nema 23 motor for the extruder....

    Should I just use a stronger feeder system?

    I put the feeder on top of the toolhead to get a "direct extruder setup".

    It helped a bit. The wire got stuck fewer times as before and if it got stuck it broke itself free after a short time.

  • Shielding Gas Upgrade Build Progress

    Dominik Meffert04/05/2020 at 03:49 0 comments

    I tested a TIG gas lens body which I want to use as new nozzle with an old vape pen to see whether the gas will cover the whole printing area. The hole in the middle will later be covered by the wire so that most of the shielding gas will likely exit the gas lens through the outer "ring".

    With this as new nozzle I can keep the printhead design as it is - It just needs a M10x1 thread for the new nozzle instead of a M6 thread.

    A possible issue with this could be that the shielding gas flows into the bowden tube instead of the nozzle, what maybe could be fixed with a 3D printed diameter reducing joint.

    I moved the cooling radiator underneath the Z axis where it is mostly protected from sparks and debris. For now it just stands there on threaded rods with enough clearance to the bottom for the air to flow.

    I covered the hole at its former place with a plate on which I mounted a solenoid valve + relay. The relay is wired to the secondary fan (D6).

    The Valve can be opened in the startcode with M106 P1 S255 and closed in the endcode with M106 P1 S0 for controlling the use of shielding gas.

    New aluminum block with gas lens nozzle.

  • A day of testing and further plans

    Dominik Meffert04/02/2020 at 01:04 0 comments

    Today I tested out the Z Min Probe Homing function and the bed leveling function. I noticed that the probing works very well as long as there is enough current for the switch to work and as long as the nozzle is not sooty - therefore the nozzle has to be cleaned with a steel/brass brush or a file tool before homing/probing and the wire has to be retracted in the nozzle.

    I also did a few printing tests, but unfortunately none of them worked out - mostly due to problems with the first layer, too much or too less intensity and clogging of the nozzle. The ability of homing and probing makes testing definitely a lot easier.

    I also tested using only the infill aligned to 90 and 0 degree angle without outlines like Digital Alloys do in their videos and it has the advantage that the printed lines fuse very good to each other when they get printed parallel to each other. That's because the last printed line gets heated by the line which gets currently printed.

    It's also an advantage that there is no outline in which the nozzle can crash.

    I think before the next testing attempt I will build a new printhead with proper shielding gas supply, relocate the water cooling radiator, install a solenoid valve + relay, mount a polycarbonate front plate and seal the sides of the printer for shielding gas use.

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Discussions

bob wrote 04/10/2020 at 01:08 point

I have visions of a lot of welding dust that would get into the mechanism.  Is that a problem?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/10/2020 at 04:08 point

Hi, I don't think so. If everything works as it should (only melting, no arcs and sparks) there should be (almost) no welding dust :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adam Quantrill wrote 04/01/2020 at 18:34 point

Two ideas: for your welding shield gas be it CO2 or Argon, if you do your welding in an open-top "tank" then once you have filled the tank your gas will sit in there as it's denser than air. Looks like you are almost there with your build.

Second if you can spot-weld how about adding tetris parts with a robot arm and building up the shape with solid metal? Yes the voxel volume will be rather course bit that might not matter if you can grind the assembly afterwards.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/02/2020 at 00:43 point

Hi, I think I will relocate the cooling system radiator to a place inside the printer... maybe underneat the Z axis assembly and add a polycarbonate front plate, so that the air stays inside the printer.

That sounds interesting and would likely be a very unique machining method :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

tyeth wrote 03/31/2020 at 23:59 point

As you're the new king of DIY metal 3d experimentation, and have talked about possible sealing of the chamber, I wondered in a mad moment how the reliability and lack of sticking might actually be improved underwater, salty water, as you'll really be able to stab that wire into the plate without risk of it sticking... I've heard you really have to apply force or drag it around to maintain a spark when welding underwater, but it was a random welding video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xigAr1aqZzY ) using stick with a protective outer coating, still I think the same would be said using wire and mega-current, but safely inside a box...I'm curious and wondered if you might be too.

Keep up the great work either way!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 00:38 point

Hehe thank you :)

Should I try printing under water?

The problem I see would be, if the water is conductive I think the current would no longer flow across the wire or at least less current would flow across it and maybe it would no longer melt.

But I haven't tested it yet.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jarrett wrote 04/01/2020 at 01:35 point

EDM machines use either distilled water, or mineral oil to get around the conduction problem

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Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 02:15 point

Yes, but he said salty water :)

A few weeks ago I saw a video of someone building his own edm drilling machine for which he also used distilled water. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpHYBz7ToII&feature=youtu.be

I will try to print my own shielding gas shroud with the wire printer. This way I could stay with the contact tip nozzle and keep it simple.

  Are you sure? yes | no

tyeth wrote 04/01/2020 at 11:36 point

Oh your absolutely right it will go through the wire and leech into the water too, but I believe that adds an interesting characteristic whereby the sticking issue is reduced and a more predictable behaviour is exhibited. 

Just curious, what's the highest current you've used so far?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 13:36 point

I testet once at which point the breaker trips which protects the 50mm² cable from overheating with 7A input and 375A output.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDjd9VCVpoI&feature=youtu.be

I'm printing at around 1,5A to 2,5A input which should be 80A to 130A output what goes through 0.8mm welding wire.

By using more intensity there is a lot of arcing until the wire get stuck in the nozzle or the nozzle stops conducting due to soot on the nozzle.

  Are you sure? yes | no

technophile.sw wrote 04/01/2020 at 14:35 point

Seems like there would be difficulties; if the results were great then a lot of welding would be done in tanks of water.

I'd watch for:

1.  Electrolysis:  generation of hydrogen and oxygen gas --> corrosion one side.  Also a combustion / explosion hazard.

2.  Cold joints.

3.  Increased shock hazard.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/02/2020 at 00:33 point

Yes, think I will continue working on a shielding gas option.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Audiocrush wrote 03/31/2020 at 23:35 point

Hi,
well regarding your argon/co2 endeavours:
When you use CO2 in your shielding gas, it will increase the carbon content in the liquid metal. Not sure which effect that will have, but I'd recommend going with argon 4.6 which should be sufficient.
Also take a look at common mig gun supplies for using as a shielding gas outlet.
Argon is quite expensive, so If you don't want to waste as much, I'd recommend you using a construction as close to a common MIG gun as possible.

In TIG welding I love to use whats called a gas lens, which makes argon flow laminar going out of the nozzle, which makes it an absolute joy to work with. Maybe you can find something like this for a MIG gun? not sure if it makes a difference but I can imagine everything which takes variations and chaos out of the equation will make your results much more consistent and predictable.

Love the project :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 00:14 point

Hi thank you for your advice :)

I think I will likely design a new printhead with a mig gun head or a tig gas lens with a contact tip in the middle to have the possibility to use shielding gas and keep it as an experimental feature. I have absolutely no welding experience and still never used a welding machine, so it's impossible for me to give a recommendation on shielding gas use.

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Opsahl wrote 03/23/2020 at 19:08 point

I have seen DIY wire benders use welding wire feed rollers for the wire feeder. Might be a good place to start if you are considering adding one to your machine. See 3 minutes 20 seconds into this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WENEK-LJA6E

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 03/23/2020 at 19:21 point

Hi John,

thank you for the link. Will try to build something like this.

  Are you sure? yes | no

jibril wrote 02/27/2020 at 02:25 point

I have not used my 3D printer in a long time

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jibril wrote 02/27/2020 at 02:23 point

your spool looks like the one on my 3D printer

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Ahron Wayne wrote 02/26/2020 at 17:12 point

Consider running the metal filament through a bowden tube or similar to reduce the chances of it unspooling and causing problems? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 02/26/2020 at 17:15 point

Hi Wayne, yes it will run through a bowden tube.

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Klaus Kaiser wrote 02/23/2020 at 11:46 point

How do you prevent oxidation of the liquid metal? Do you use shielding gas and/or flux-core wire? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 02/23/2020 at 15:36 point

Hi Klaus,

I thought about it, but couldn't test how oxidation affects the print quality until now. I think in the next few days the build should be ready for a test run. Actually I want to prevent using shielding gas to keep it cheap and simple, so the only option would be flux core wire, if oxidation is a problem. Maybe it could be a benefit that the wire heats up / melts from the inside because of the high current flowing through it, but thats only speculation.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Tomas Mudrunka wrote 03/31/2020 at 16:40 point

Hello. I have some experience with wire welding and i think you really should do something to prevent oxidation, otherwise the printed object quality will be greatly degraded both in terms of physical and visual properties.

Also i need to strongly advise you to stay away from flux core. I leaves slag, which needs to be constantly removed before next layer can be welded on top of it.

Use CO2 gas! It's very cheap and easy to do. You can either provide constant flow of CO2 directed to your nozzle (in similar way plastic FDM printers use part cooling fans) or you can enclose whole 3D printer in watertight vessel and fill it with CO2 before printing. CO2 is heavier than air, so you can still have some openings at top, given you don't blow it too much. Only issue might be caused by pressure regulator freezing, if you use too much flow. There's no need for high flow if you use CO2 filled enclosure. If you need to have high flow for a long time, some people use warming devices. I saw people using high power resistors to heat up the pressure regulator. Quite easy. Also you can put electricaly controlled valve at low-pressure side(!) of the regulator so your 3D printer will be able to automaticaly stop the flow once the printing is done.

Go to any shop with welding equipment and they will tell you everything you need to know, it's really not that hard. Basicaly you need CO2 bottle, pressure regulator and some hoses.  Also you can get these things in shops who sell restaurant equipment, because the very same stuff is used to pour a tap beer from the keg.

I know it might sound bit uncomfortable at first, but i believe you will save yourself great ammount of trouble if you go the CO2 way rather than flux core.


Just remember to close the valve before you go to bed ;-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 03/31/2020 at 21:22 point

Hi Tomas,

In terms of flux core wire you are 100% right. It behaves like you said and is not suitable for printing. In terms of CO2 I just added a inlet for CO2 for further testing. Do you think a hole next to the nozzle is enough or do I need a proper shielding gas nozzle to benefit from shielding gas?

The idea of sealing the printer and filling it with CO2 to the top is also good, but would require a relocation of the watercooling radiator.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Tomas Mudrunka wrote 04/01/2020 at 07:49 point

The point is that the molten metal should be always covered in CO2, so it does not come in contact with the air. I am not really sure if single nozzle next to the wire nozzle is enough, but i think you can easily try it, if you somehow manage to inject smoke into the CO2 line (3d printed venturi and vape-pen?), so you will see, how the CO2 moves through the space.

You can take a look at commercial TIG torches and how they are made. I think it will give you some idea. It's basicaly big nozzle for gas and the smaller wire nozzle is in middle of it. But i think it might not fit nicely to your machine.

What if you take some copper pipe (brake line), seal one end (crimp with plyers and solder it). Then you can bend this pipe to "?" question mark shape. So you will have plugged end forming the ring around your wire nozzle and straight end providing inlet of CO2. You can then use tiny drill bits to make series of holes in the ring all around the printing nozzle. Dunno. Just idea.

Or just take a look at ducting part of cooling fan assemblies of FDM printers and make similar ducting from something heat resistant.

BTW if you have some watercooling system, you might run the hoses to pressure regulator of CO2 tank, because this gets really cool as CO2 gets to atmospheric pressure and warm water can help to prevent it from freezing, if you figure out how to exchange the heat between water and regulator. (Might still need to cool the water afterwards if it gets too hot)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/02/2020 at 00:26 point

Hi, I've ordered a tig nozzle which already has the holes for shielding gas and a thread for a shroud. Your ideas are also good. When I have the new toolhead ready I will test it with fog to see whether it covers the pool of melted material.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bharbour wrote 02/05/2020 at 14:34 point

How do you insure that the wire disconnects from the welded spot? It seems like the opportunity to just weld the head in place is very high.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 02/05/2020 at 14:49 point

Hi,

It should be as followed:

As long as the electrode is made of copper it should not weld to the workpiece. The most heat is generated at the point of the greatest resistance, so the copper electrode stays cooler because of its low resistance and greater diameter and should not melt.

I tested it many times and it never welded in place.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bharbour wrote 02/05/2020 at 20:40 point

I meant the welding wire not separating from the welded spot

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 02/06/2020 at 01:27 point

Yes that could be a concern, thanks for the hint. I will test it and if the head welds to the welded spot I will maybe need another nozzle with an orifice shifted inwards or something like that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martin wrote 01/28/2020 at 16:09 point

I remember a project, a friend did in the late 1990ies. In that time they called it "rapid prototyping" and not so much 3D printing. They tried to melt metal like iron with an induction coil or some welding torch to build up an object layer by layer.
But that led to massive thermal distortion. AFAIK they tried even grinding each layer with a good (6 axis) CNC mill, but in the end they could not design a reliable 3D printing process.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 01/28/2020 at 19:45 point

Hi Martin,

I think that's the thing with metal 3D printing. Many people have worked on it, but only a few companies were successful with complicated and costly methods. It seems like it's extremely hard to get usable results at low cost.

The objects which I want to print/weld will likely be more partially together welded wire parts than solid metal parts, but I think it could be a cheap way to create 3D printed/welded parts at all. Maybe later the process can be somehow improved to create solid metal parts.

  Are you sure? yes | no

technophile.sw wrote 04/01/2020 at 14:36 point

Post-print cleaning and electroplating?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 23:57 point

Maybe when it works more reliable.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ahron Wayne wrote 01/25/2020 at 22:09 point

Very cool, have wanted to see a 3D printer operate like this. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 01/28/2020 at 21:01 point

Thank you,

there are still some things to figure out but I think it should work.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 01/14/2020 at 18:08 point

I really like this idea. I can see it starting out really simple, with wires tacked to the build plate to make "low poly" shapes. Then you increase the number of spot welds to improve the resolution, and then build up layers. Really cool idea.

One place you might have trouble is the duty cycle of your spot welder. You might have to build a pretty beefy welder to keep it more or less continually operating.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 01/14/2020 at 20:07 point

Thank you,

I hope I can build a capacitor based spot welder that can work for hours, like a 3D printer. Maybe with multiple capacitors to switch between them for reducing time between two welds and for using double pulse spot welding if needed.

  Are you sure? yes | no

technophile.sw wrote 04/01/2020 at 14:43 point

What would you be spot welding?  I understand spot welding as joining two or three objects pinched together between (usually large) electrodes that run a heavy current through them.

Are you thinking of capacitive discharge welding, maybe wire-feed?

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Dominik Meffert wrote 04/01/2020 at 23:54 point

Hi, I started this project as a cnc spot welder,

https://hackaday.io/project/169412-wire-3d-printer/log/172893-mot-spot-welder

but the machine is still capable of spot welding 

https://hackaday.io/project/169412-wire-3d-printer/log/175294-welding.

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