Desktop Metal Qualifies Commercially Pure Copper for 3D Printing on the Production System

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Pure Copper for 3D Printing
Above: An interior view of the cooling geometries in a liquid cooling plate/Image Source: Desktop Metal

Desktop Metal has qualified commercially pure copper for 3D printing on the Production SystemTM platform, which uses patent-pending Single Pass JettingTM (SPJ) technology to achieve the fastest build speeds in the metal additive manufacturing industry. Customers can now use SPJ technology to mass-produce high-performance copper parts in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, and electronics.

Commercially pure copper (> 99.95 percent purity) is an ideal material for applications requiring heat or electricity transfer, such as cold plates, pucks and manifolds, heat sinks, heat exchangers, and bus bars used in power-intensive electrical applications, due to its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. It is the world’s third-most-used industrial metal.

“Pure copper for 3D printing has been a highly requested material from many of our customers and prospects, and has applications spanning a broad variety of industries, from thermal hardware found in air and liquid cooling systems to conformally cooled coils for transmission of high frequency currents. We are excited to be able to expand our extensive Production System materials portfolio to support customers looking to 3D print electrically and thermally conductive components at scale and at a fraction of the cost of conventional manufacturing methods.”

– Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal

The materials science team at Desktop Metal has qualified and fully characterized commercially pure copper (C10300) printed on Production System technology with greater than 99.95 percent purity, resulting in excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. Manufacturers can now print copper parts with significant geometric complexity on the Production System in a single step rather than brazing multiple conventionally produced copper components together, eliminating a time-consuming and costly process prone to error and waste. Engineers can also explore new, high-performance designs not possible with traditional manufacturing methods, such as lattice structures and conformal cooling channels to improve heat transfer, thanks to the geometric freedom enabled by binder jetting.

An example of a key application includes:

Liquid Cooling Plate

Pure Copper for 3D Printing
Above: Liquid cooling plates are used to regulate temperature on high-performance microprocessors/Image Source: Desktop Metal

Liquid cooling plates are used to keep high-performance microprocessors cool. Coolant flows through the fins, which have a large surface area for transferring heat from the passing fluid to the heat sink, which cools the chip attached to the outer body. Given the challenges of achieving precision and repeatability in such a small form factor, these cooling geometries typically necessitate capital-intensive, long lead time, and skilled labor-intensive production processes, such as skiving and machining. Furthermore, these commonly used conventional manufacturing processes are subtractive and generate excess scrap material, which significantly raises the associated part costs.

Whereas traditional manufacturing methods for this liquid cooling plate required machining and assembling multiple separate components due to tool access restrictions, binder jetting on the Production System can produce the part as a single component, reducing manufacturing and operational complexity, part cost, and lead time. The Production System enables the printing of hundreds of cooling plates per day, allowing for cost-effective volume production. Because of its excellent conductivity, copper is the ideal material for heat exchangers, maximising heat dissipation from the electronic chip to the cooling fluid.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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