DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF A LOW-COST 3D METAL PRINTER

Author(s): 

A. Rosli1, M. R. Alkahari1, 2, *, F. R. Ramli1, 2, S. Maidin3, M. N. Sudin1, 2, S. Subramoniam3, T. Furumoto4

Affiliation(s): 

1Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Hang Tuah Jaya, 76100 Durian Tunggal, Melaka, Malaysia.

2Center for Advanced Research on Energy (CARe), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM),Hang Tuah Jaya, 76100 Durian Tunggal, Melaka, Malaysia.

3Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Hang Tuah Jaya, 76100 Durian Tunggal, Melaka, Malaysia.

4Institute of Science and Engineering, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1192, Japan.

*Corresponding Author Email: rizalalkahari@utem.edu.my

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) is a technology that enables the fabrication of 3D data by depositing a thin layer of material layer-by-layer until a final product is produced. Recently, the application of metal-based material has been increasingly utilized. However, the price is expensive and limited to certain applications only. Thus, it severely restricts access to the technology for small and medium enterprises. Realizing its potential, this research focuses on the design and development of a low – cost 3D metal printer. The basic construction, process, and operation to develop a low-cost 3D metal printer are presented along with the material costs, connection of electronic part, and illustration of metal inert gas (MIG) welding. In order to test the newly developed low-cost 3D metal printer’s performance, the main parameters that influence the accuracy and quality of a metal product are tested. The 3D printed structure’s accuracies are examined and compared to computer-aided design data (CAD) data. The cross-sectional area of the samples was captured using SEM to check for the bonding between inter layer. Based on the study, it was found that a relatively acceptable 3D printed metal structure can be produced from the newly developed low-cost 3D metal printer. Thus, while having explored the potential of using the developed solution, it also opens-up into the area of further investigation particularly in the precision of observed over desired.