3D Printer : Grid Logic deposits technology that does not require a binder

At RAPID + TCT 2022, the largest 3D Printer show in North America, a small Michigan startup called Grid Logic appeared. The name “Grid Logic” was originally derived from activities to improve the electrical grid and was later used to represent the XYZ axes of the 3D Printer. The startup has upended the traditional craft of 3D printers in a deceptively simple but ingenious way. To address the problem of multi-metal 3D printers (or multi-materials when ceramics are added to the mix), they came up with a method for depositing metal powders.

This technology is like a binder jet metal 3D printer, which requires sintering later; but unlike binder jetting, it has no binder. The metal particles are simply stacked on top of each other, supported by zircon, and then sintered together. No complicated inkjet heads, rollers or squeegees, and no lasers.

Advantage :

● Minimize waste of high-cost metal and ceramic powders

●No residual stress in the printed part

●No adhesive contamination

●Using traditional powder consolidation methods to manufacture complex parts

Grid Logic’s booth showcased a variety of use cases, including axial flux permanent magnet rotors composed of neodymium magnets and copper conductors to power electric vehicles. There is also a three-phase stator coil that can be used as an induction motor for various industrial applications, and the ability to incorporate copper coils in a ceramic insulator has also been demonstrated.

While it is possible to mix dissimilar metals with directed energy deposition (DED), this technique cannot yield the same complexity as powder bed fusion (PBF). However, implementing a 3D printer with multiple materials using PBF is a bit difficult. Also, with traditional metal binder jet 3D Printer technology, binders are required and bonding dissimilar metals is complicated. The company has previously worked with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture beryllium replacement components for the Raytheon missile system; is now looking for its next partner and customer to provide 3D Printer services, materials development, R&D and Development of custom systems.

Indirect metal printing is expected to produce $54 billion in parts by 2030, according to the recently published “Indirect Metal Additive Manufacturing Market 2022” forecast by SmarTech Analysis. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising if Grid Logic were acquired by GE, Desktop Metal, or HP.