Here's what makes this 3D printer developed by IIT Jodhpur special

The printer finds applications in various fields and is capable of 3D printing parts with powders made in India
Image of IIT Jodhpur for representational purpose only | Pic: IIT Jodhpur
Image of IIT Jodhpur for representational purpose only | Pic: IIT Jodhpur

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur have developed a metal 3D printer that has applications in defense, aerospace and general engineering. The printer was developed indigenously, with all components, apart from the laser and robot systems, designed and manufactured in India. Officials at IIT Jodhpur told PTI that the main objective of the printer is to reduce the cost of metal 3D printing and be suitable for a broad range of applications. 

"Despite the fact that metal 3D printing technology started a few years after the launch of polymer 3D printing, it is yet to experience the tremendous growth that the polymer 3D industry has achieved, especially in India. The high price of the product and the more expensive proprietary metal powders imported from abroad are some of the reasons for the limited growth of metal 3D printers," Ravi KR, Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT, Jodhpur told PTI.

"The printer developed is suitable for repairing and adding additional material to existing components. Hence, it is ideal for printing fully functional parts for a range of industries, like aerospace, defence, automotive, oil and gas, and general engineering, to name a few," he added.

What also makes this printer stand out is the fact that it can 3D-print parts with metal powders made in India. V Narayanan, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, and one of the researchers who worked on this project told PTI, "In addition, India's first state-of-the-art variable spot size laser optics without compromising on laser beam homogeneity for laser cladding and additive manufacturing process is available in this machine. Our team has developed this machine's tool path planning software and coaxial nozzle. It also has in-situ monitoring technologies which constantly monitor the melt pool temperature and clad thickness during the additive manufacturing process."

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