Written By Andrew Zaleski Via Fortune.com
Xjet plans to make the first 3D printer that prints parts from liquid metal.
The next challenge for the 3D-printing industry is finding a cheap way to produce metal objects—and if Israel-based startup Xjet manages to pull off what it’s promising, 2016 could be the year that starts to happen.
Typically, producing metal objects via 3D printing happens when a powdered version of something like steel or titanium is melted and fused together. It’s this process that a company like General Electric employs to manufacturethe nozzles on its new Leap aircraft engines. Creating something like a nozzle through additive manufacturing means creating designs of parts not previously possible, and testing their effectiveness in software. Doing so lowers the cost of producing a metal part by eliminating the need to make molds to fit liquid metal, and then the need to remake those molds should a metal part need to be tweaked.
Xjet, on the other hand, isn’t using powder. The companyclaims it will bring to market a 3D printer, the first-ever, that uses inkjet printing technology and liquid metals to create directly print 3D objects in less time and for significantly less money—and it’s for that reason that Xjet is the 3D-printing company others should be watching.