About

Presenting the Mini Metal Maker

The Mini Metal Maker is a game-changer in the world of low cost 3-D printing. It gives artists an craftspeople a new tool for creating directly with solid metal.  It is a powerful new tool for creating beautiful customized durable objects.  It is also a valuable and accessible educational tool because the Mini Metal Maker is small, portable, and affordable.

 

3D Printing With Metal Clay

The Mini Metal Maker brings together the exciting worlds of 3D printing and metal clay. It is the only fully self-contained 3D printer designed specifically for metal clay materials. This 3D printer is the perfect addition to your jewelry studio or maker workshop. This printer incorporates a unique high-pressure digital extruder that is capable of starting and stopping the flow of clay rapidly enough to accomplish highly complex patterning.

The system includes an easy side loading cartridge system, and a sensor platform that provides for auto-leveling with no fuss. The cartridges allow for a variety of replaceable nozzle sizes for prints of different resolution, and uses a patent pending nozzle bath system to extend nozzle lifetime. Innovative interchangeable magnetic polymer build sheets let you print and set the wet project aside to dry while you print more.

 


Stanford Bunny test object in 104 layers of solid bronze, 15mm tall

The Mini Metal Maker prints 3D objects from digital files directly in metal clay, rather than in plastic.  Once these clay objects air-dry, they are fired in a kiln to produce beautiful solid metal objects of high purity and precision.  Using metal clay essentially replaces the wax-casting or lost-wax process ordinarily needed to do this.

 

Nautilus pendant printed in 32 layers of bronze clay, auto-generated support material left in place for effect.

The Mini Metal Maker is the perfect tool for the jewelry artisan, artist or DIY maker. 3D printing with metal clay makes fabrication in metal easy and direct.  It will be a boon for anyone interested in creating custom printing jewelry and metal ornaments. It can also be used to produce small metal parts such as gears, clips, and bushings. The Mini Metal Maker is solidly built out of steel and aluminum and features unique patent-pending technologies. 



 


Bronze gears printed from open source files for REPRAP Wade extruder.

 
Indiegogo Campaign & Tooling Up for Production

Our goal for 2015 is to move production of the Mini Metal Maker out of our basement and  onto a factory floor. We aim to raise $150,000 through our Indiegogo, beginning March 1 and lasting through April 15, 2015. Your contributions will help us bring this exciting tool to market. Monies raised will be spent toward software development, purchasing of tools, and setting up a professional build-space.

There are several hurdles to overcome before this can happen, including software development, tooling-up, and licensing. It is our goal to create a user friendly host program that will make the user experience as direct and creative as possible. Tooling up for production involves creating shop drawings, jigs, dies and CNC programs with local Colorado manufacturers. Finally, there are several permit and licensing hurdles involved with physical equipment manufacture.


Our first mini production run of 30 units, displayed at Rawlings Library, Pueblo CO. before shipping to contributors.

 

About Us

The Mini Metal Maker is a creation of David and Lindsay Hartkop. Work began on their invention in the summer of 2013 and they conducted a successful Indiegogo campaign in 2013. The campaign provided funds used to complete the R&D required to develop their wooden prototype into a fully featured production model. The Hartkops currently have four patents pending on their unique all-electronic metal clay 3D printer, including filings for their high pressure digital extruder, auto-leveling sensor plate, magnetic polymer build surface, and wetting nozzle bath.  Mini Metal Maker is a trademark held by David and Lindsay Hartkop.

 Mini Metal Maker is working in conjunction with Metal Adventures to produce specially formulated blends of bronze, copper, and tin metal clays for use with the 3D printing process. Clay is available online through this website.