Metal additive printing is fantastically versatile, but slow. Luckily, the entrepeneurs from Darwin-based startup SPEE3D are better at innovation than they are at names.
Their contribution to the world of manufacturing is the LightSpEE3D metal printer 1000 times faster and 100 times cheaper than existing commercial variants.
"So you're talking about a massive change forward now in how you actually manufacture: you can do it very local and very specific and the Territory can lead the way," NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
The fast, cheap manufacture of custom metal parts could be an incredible boost to remote areas in the Northern Territories, where sourcing parts locally can be impossible, and shipping can take ages.
Previously, printing a metal part could take upwards of 100 hours, but the LightSpEE3D can print the same job in as little as half an hour.
The company has developed a prototype of its 3D metal printer and plans to have a commercial product ready for sale by the end of 2018.
CEO Byron Kennedy and chief technology officer, Steve Camilleri, established their SPEE3D start-up in 2014 to get their very fast 3D metal printer into the marketplace.
“Speed is where our technology excels and we are targeting a completely new space - the manufacturers of standard run-of-the-mill products, where speed is essential,” says Kennedy.
A $400,000 Government grant has allowed Charles Darwin University to acquire a LightSpEE3D printer where new applications for the technology will be researched.