ShapeWay has been making 3D printers for some time now, however those printers have always used simple polymers to etch out the customers 3D print designs. Now the company is offering a much more advanced offering, a 3D Stainless Steel printer that can carve out objects based on the users own designs.
The process seems pretty simplistic, although I’m guessing it’s not as simply as it sounds. Here’s the technique according to Shapeway:
This is a completely new technique which deposits stainless steel powder in a very thin layer, combining it with a binding material. Printed objects are built up like this, layer by layer, gradually creating the form just as you designed it on the computer screen. When complete, they are infused with bronze and cured in an oven. After cooling, the models can be left in the original steel finish or tumbled to get a great polished look.
The actual process seems reasonably priced at a cost of $10.00 per cm3. Shapeway puts the cost of a simple ring at $4.70, while more complex objects will cost more based on the amount of materials being used.
Users can also create their designs and then choose to have a polymer based object created with a stainless steel version created at another time, a great way to save money until you see the final product. [via Shapeway]