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back to index backAMERItalk June,  2017


The 3-D Printer That Could Finally Change Manufacturing

Desktop Metal thinks its machines will give designers and manufacturers a practical and affordable way to print metal parts.

It’s less than two months before his company’s initial product launch, and CEO Ric Fulop is excitedly showing off rows of stripped-down 3-D printers, several bulky microwave furnaces, and assorted small metal objects on a table for display. Behind a closed door, a team of industrial designers sit around a shared work desk, each facing a large screen. The wall behind them is papered with various possible looks for the startup’s ambitious products: 3-D printers that can fabricate metal parts cheaply and quickly enough to make the technology practical for widespread use in product design and manufacturing.

The company, Desktop Metal, has raised nearly $100 million from leading venture capital firms and the venture units of such companies as General Electric, BMW, and Alphabet. The founders include four prominent MIT professors, including the head of the school’s department of materials science and Emanuel Sachs, who filed one of the original patents on 3-D printing in 1989. Still, despite all the money and expertise, there’s no guarantee the company will succeed in its goal of reinventing how we make metal parts—and thus transforming much of manufacturing.

As Fulop moves about the large, open workspace, his excitement and enthusiasm seem tempered by anxiety. The final commercial printers are not yet ready. Employees are busy tinkering with the machines, and fabricated test objects are scattered about. Progress is being made, but it’s also obvious that the clock is ticking. In a corner near the front door and entrance area, the floor is empty and taped off; soon the space needs to be filled with a mockup of the company’s planned booth for an upcoming trade show.

To read entire article, please click here.

Source: MIT Technology Review - GAI



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