In the domain of metal 3D printing, the notion of affordability can often seem like an oxymoron. The technology, although transformative, has traditionally been associated with prohibitive cost barriers. However, Rapidia, a prominent manufacturer of water-based metal paste bound metal 3D printers, is reshaping this narrative with the introduction of its Conflux 1 metal 3D printer, now available at a groundbreaking price point of $99,000 USD.
A History of Disruption
Rapidia's journey towards greater affordability has been marked by innovation and disruption. The company entered a partnership with ExOne in 2020, where ExOne white-labeled their metal paste printer and compact sintering furnace. This partnership provided Rapidia access to ExOne’s established brand and distribution network, while also expanding ExOne’s portfolio. However, with the acquisition of ExOne by Desktop Metal in late 2021, the partnership ended.
Following this change, Rapidia embarked on a mission to build a sales team and network of its own. By controlling the entire customer journey, Rapidia succeeded in making its Conflux 1 metal additive manufacturing platform more accessible. The current hardware packages, which consist of one printer and one vacuum sintering furnace, are now available starting from $99,000 USD.
The Conflux 1: A Game Changer
The Conflux 1 is powered by Metal Paste Deposition, a technology that prints a flowable bound metal paste. The paste is dried layer by layer, creating green parts with 90% less binder than found in metal filaments or Metal Injection Molding (MIM) feedstocks. As a room temperature process, Metal Paste Deposition is not limited by the speed of melting and then cooling polymer-carriers. Moreover, the low binder content allows green parts to be put directly into short sintering cycles, skipping the debinding step and ultimately outputting many finished parts in under 24 hours.
Making Metal 3D Printing Accessible
The CEO of Rapidia, Artem Bylinskii, commented on the company's commitment to accessibility, stating that their metal printing technology is recognized for its ease of use and low operating cost. He expressed Rapidia's readiness to be more proactive and disruptive by making their technology more accessible in terms of price as well.
He further added that there exists a gap in metal additive manufacturing because the cost of entry for production solutions is incredibly high. Traditional models often involve companies borrowing upwards of half a million dollars to gain that capability, presenting a major risk. With Rapidia's new pricing, the aim is to offer a more scalable production solution where businesses can start with a few machines and then continue adding printers to their fleet at an easily digestible cost.
In conclusion, the affordability of the Rapidia 3D printer represents a paradigm shift in the metal 3D printing industry. By making advanced manufacturing more accessible, Rapidia is not only democratizing the technology but also empowering businesses to leverage the benefits of metal 3D printing without the burden of exorbitant costs. This development holds significant potential to fuel innovation, accelerate production cycles, and drive growth across a multitude of sectors.