Collider 3d printers can make shiny metal objects on demand
When he worked at Shapeways just a few years ago, customers constantly asked Graham Bredemeyer if they could get their designs made out of metal by the 3D printing services firm. Think about it — if a plastic Yoda is covetable, a titanium one is even better.
However, most 3D printers could not yet handle alloys like sterling silver or stainless steel in 2014. And to this day, 3D printers that make metal objects don’t generate the same smooth quality surfaces as traditional injection molding.
Now, Bredemeyer has formed a startup called Collider to fulfill makers’ wishes. The company’s flagship printer Orchid, which is still in a production-prototype stage, is compact, safe and affordable enough for use in offices or labs. It makes metal objects that are on par with injection-molded.
Here’s how the machine works, according to Collider co-founders Bredemeyer and president Cacky Calderon: users open Collider’s software and can upload any industry-standard, digital 3D design model to get started. After tweaking their design file, they insert a material cartridge into the printer and it churns out a shell, or mold, of the model.
The Collider printer then fills each mold with a mix of metal powders and a liquid binder from “off the shelf” cartridges. The printer can also fill a mold with materials like silicone or other polymers. The company plans to resell others’ cartridges, and make its own, at least for the mold-materials.