Today in the Department of Overkill Department we present students from the University of Delft who have built a metal printer using a basic Prusa 3D printer – essentially a hobbyist printer – and a MIG welder. The system extrudes and melts a length of wire which is then laid down just like it is in plastic printers. The resulting objects, while far from pretty, prove that 3D printing in metal is finally reaching the realm of possibility for hobbyists and students.
Obviously this isn’t a perfect solution if only due to the fact that it shoots huge sparks in an enclosed space, but darn if it doesn’t look cool. The system uses a very basic Prusa i3 with some drastic modifications. In addition to the welder, they added a protective wall around the build area. The machine can extrude at 330 mm/min which isn’t very fast but you probably don’t want a MIG welder zipping around like a Makerbot.
In short, this proves anyone can make a metal printer with a little effort. The project, based on a similar project from the Michigan Technological University, could be a step on the way towards mass adoption of fiery MIG welder-bearing robots that shoot molten metal and sparks in many directions. A girl, as they say, can dream.