25 april 2019
Build Area Reducer v1.0
The reducer will be useful for those, who:

  • constantly experimenting with new metal powder alloys;
  • limited in powder volume because of its high cost.

Think that you have only 200 grams of some special powder sample, if you put it into a well with 250 mm in diameter, then most likely you can print a product with 3 mm height. Is this enough for research? I doubt it. Therefore, a reducer was made that helps to use small volume of powder efficiently.

This is not the first solution on the market: there are reducers that transform construction zone from 250 mm platform into a 50 mm in diameter platform and 40 mm height travel. But there is no way to print samples for strength test through it height on such reducers, and the diameter of 50 mm is very small. Therefore, we made a reducer with 70 mm diameter platform and a 120 mm construction height.
Construction

Our printer has 2 wells: one is responsible for part construction, and the other for powder dispensing. They are absolutely identical. The reducer is mounted into construction well; it is a reduced copy of the dosing-construction system, linked together by a gear.
Calculations

What if you print without a reducer? Let us take the same titanium alloy samples for tensile strength test. If you want to print a sample 80 mm in height, 160 mm of powder must be provided to dispensing platform (because of the filling density). With 250 mm diameter platform, 7.8 kg of titanium should be spent, and this is already 7,700$ needed just to ensure samples printing.
Samples for tensile test, which were printed with reducer
What was printed using this reducer?

All our experiments with the heat-resistant copper alloy BrCr we did using reducer. Titanium samples for tensile test were printed in height using this reducer.
BrCr samples for metallography
BrCr samples for tensile test
Build Area Reducer
Resume

This design appeared to be not the most successful, since the dispensing and construction wells are linked together by a gear, and we can't control powder flow. Next version will have separate spacers in construction well and in dispensing well and platform heating.
This part was printed using reducer
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