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This Robot Arm Can 3D-Print Molten Metal in Midair

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The only thing cooler than using a huge robot arm to sculpt? Using a huge robot arm to sculpt with liquid hot metal. Joris Laarman Studio's prototype software instructs a robotic arm to recreate 3D models in midair, using molten metals of all kinds. It looks as cool as it sounds.

Laarman's studio, you might remember, unveiled a version of this machine last year that could print resin. But metal was a significantly taller order. What's going on here, essentially, is high-speed welding in midair. This prototype can print steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze or copper, each of which comes out red-hot but fuses solid within a few minutes of cooling. The team calls it "anti-gravity additive manufacturing."


The machine debuted at Fabricate2014 in Zurich earlier this month, but it's coming to New York this spring; we're looking forward to seeing it up close and personal. [Joris Laarman Studio]