New 3D printer uses liquid metal to print furniture and other large objects

Originally published at:


Cool and safer than styrofoam burn out.


If I’m reading this correctly, the resulting material isn’t aluminum, it’s an aluminum-glass bead composite. How much of the speed-up does “we’re only actually printing a fraction of the output” account for? And if the result really is a composite, doesn’t that essentially ensure that it can never be recycled again? AKA you’re downcycling a very recyclable metal while ensuring it becomes waste after its next use?

Also, aluminum already has one of the highest recycling rates of any material. The limiter isn’t the ability to melt and deposit it. It’s that there’s no cost-effective way to fully remove tramp elements and that the longer you keep aluminum hot and molten the more it reacts with everything - including oxygen in the air. So some applications need virgin aluminum anyway, and there’s still some inevitable downcycling, and not all of it gets collected and sorted. We’re getting much better at all of these over time, and at sorting alloys in waste.


Ah yes, liquid metal.

Back in my day we called that molten metal…


/J - Yeah, yeah, Gallium and Mercury, I know…


Came here specifically for a T2 reference. Thank you!


This is around the corner from the office:


Come with me if you want to print.


Interesting. Is this the first AI generated spam we see here?

Is it? I can’t tell either way from the article. I’m not a materials scientist at all but some quick searching tells me that the glass should tolerate a much higher temp, and so wouldn’t necessarily change state when hit by the hot aluminum. I would expect the microbeads/sand to kind of shift out of the way versus adhering to the deposited metal.

It’s pretty rough-looking for sure, but I don’t think the result is metal, bedazzled in glass. More like a rough frame that might need an air blast or mechanical brushing to clean it off afterward. I’d hope they’d use a support material that was removable and would not integrate with the print.

Just back-seat guessing here. I think it’s pretty cool, whatever it’s doing. Very much a baby-steps development that might be refinable.

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And it very well might be. I was reading it as being kinda like powder bed inkjet printing (but with selectively placed beads instead of uniform powder), with liquid aluminum as the binder, but I don’t know for sure.

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