After 3 years of development with partners and customers in the aerospace, petroleum, injection molding, dentistry, education, and nuclear energy industries, The Virtual Foundry is now shipping turn-key debinding and sintering systems that allows any size shop create pure metal in existing plastic 3D labs (or set up a new metal lab) at a low price point.
Based in Wisconsin, The Virtual Foundry is the first in the market to introduce an affordable metal 3D printing system that effectively reduces the entry cost of metal 3D printing.
The Virtual Foundry's flagship line of materials called Filamet is compatible with any FFF or FDM printer. The company provides a full-cycle solution that includes debinding and sintering equipment, letting anyone 3D print pure metal parts in-house for prototyping and short-run manufacturing. Complete processing packages start at under $10,000.
Another key advantage of Filamet is safety, as the metal powders are bound in a food-safe thermoplastic polymer, making it far safer and less expensive than existing laser-based metal 3D printing solutions. Unlike other metal printing technologies that require respirators or special handling equipment, metal powders are encapsulated within a binder during handling and printing.
The company has started collaborating with manufacturers of industrial-grade 3D printers to co-market its products. The quality produced by the highest performance industrial 3D printers carries directly through to the metal products created with The Virtual Foundry materials. "Our open architecture strategy means that as 3D printing technology improves, so does the final product created with Filamet," said Bradley Woods, founder of The Virtual Foundry.
The system also fits effortlessly into educational settings looking for a low-investment metal 3D printing solution. Educators are already including Filamet in coursework for metal additive manufacturing. Low-cost entry into metal printing and sintering makes a significant addition to STEM and STEAM curricula.
The Virtual Foundry currently stocks stainless 316L, copper, and bronze. Other materials are available by special order. They company hopes to expand materials kept in standard inventory over the coming months.
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