asshatnowhere t1_j8obyck wrote

In short, it functions like a DMLS printer where you have a build plate that descends and a moving blade to deposite the layer. The idea is figuring out a way to completely decouple the build plate after a layer is deposited so that it can be weighed, the area of the layer is known, and then the build plate is returned to its original position. The challenge is the tolerances involved. We're talking fractions of a milligram, and the build plate needs to be returned to the same position with thousands of an inch (mixing units, fight me). The other challenge was not losing a single bit of powder during the decoupling and not disturbing the layer. Then you also had to purge the seal in a pure nitrogen and dry environment.

I left the project fairly early though as I had changed jobs. But the prototype was showing promise although never fully tested.


asshatnowhere t1_j8nsj26 wrote

Funny, at my last job I was literally developing and building a pseudo printer that would be used to determine a process for testing this very thing. In a nutshell, this device would function similarly to a metal 3d printer but it would very accurately weigh every single layer to calculate bulk density of the powder and through laser scanning methods look for potential voids in each layer. The idea is that it would be used as a metric for honing in on 'best practices' for optimal printing.