Australian company SPEE3D demonstrated what it claims is the “world’s fastest live print of a metal part” at Formnext in Germany in November 2019. The company printed a 1.012-kg copper sledgehammer in 10 minutes and 2 seconds using supersonic deposition.

In the process, a rocket nozzle accelerates air up to three times the speed of sound. Injected powders are deposited onto a substrate that is attached to a six-axis robotic arm. The kinetic energy of the particles causes the powders to bind together to form a high-density part with normal metallurgical properties. According to SPEE3D, this allows metal parts to be printed 100 to 1,000 times faster than with existing 3D-printing methods.

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