3D printing solid steel parts on a desktop is a bit of a holy grail in 3D printing right now. There are services for obtaining 3D printed metal parts, but there are little to no options for the home workshop. Ability3D is hoping to change that with their 888 printer. It combines a router and welder in order to put 3D printed metal objects within reach.
Basically, it uses a welding machine loaded with aluminum, steel, or even stainless steel medium to lay down fairly low resolution layers. Each layer is then refined with the router bit in order to obtain high resolution prints. This is a method that has been fairly well established in manufacturing for a while, but hasn’t been readily available to home consumers due to price. Maker Faire Orlando, Ben Willard explained to me that they are planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign in January with a target price of under $3,000.
The little example square may seem like an unimpressive item, but can you do that on any other printer in this price range? I can’t wait to see the results after they complete the design.