11 February 2014, 14:32

China set to showcase world's largest and fastest 3D printer

China set to showcase world's largest and fastest 3D printer

China is on course to build its own 3D printing industry. The government appears to be investing heavily in 3D printing. Last summer, a team of Chinese researchers led by Professor Yao Shan unveiled the world's largest 3D printer with a maximum processing size of 1.8 m. Unlike most other 3D printers, Professor Yao's brainchild uses a "contour scanning" technology that shortens processing time by 35 percent and reduces manufacturing costs by 40 percent.

The processing time of traditional 3D printing is proportional to the volume of a part, while in Professor Yao's printer, processing time is proportional to the unit of surface area of a part, speeding print efficiency to 5-15 times that of traditional 3D printers. The material for this printer is common coated sand less than 1,000 yuan ($163) per ton.

But that's nothing compared to what China is going to present soon. That may be by far the largest 3D printer yet, capable of printing metal objects up to 6 m in diameter. If it works as it is supposed to, China will be able to print out the frame of virtually any automobile.

At present, China has several industrial 3D printers, which it has been using successfully to manufacture titanium alloy landing gear for jets, bearing frames of aircrafts as well as parts used in satellites, rockets and power plants.

What could the 3D-printing revolution mean for China, an emerging consumption superpower?

There may be a two-fold benefit for the country, economists say. First, it could give domestic companies a nice competitive edge. Second, it could help Chinese companies design products that are better tailored for local preferences.

So far, China lags behind the United States in 3D printing. But having made industrial 3D printing its priority and putting so much money and effort into it, it could soon get a nice advantage thanks to its new breed of giant 3D printers. 

Voice of Russia, 3dprint.com, RT

    and share via