What are the main benefits of using safeEtch?
safeEtch is an innovative metal support removal equipment that allows removing supports from metal prints quickly and easily.
Reduced costs, increased production capacity
Automated support structure removal process of the whole production batch instead of manual labor on one part at a time.
New geometries possible
Internal channels with printed supports or precise, complicated shapes difficult for manual support removal are no longer a problem with soluble support structures.
Reduced surface roughness and sharp edges retained are a natural effect of the process.
How does it work?
safeEtch uses a chemical solution to dissolve a uniform layer of material in the whole volume of the printout. The thickness of the layer is predefined by process parameters and taken into account during part design. As a result supporting structures are dissolved with additional surface treatment. Ultrasonic agitation allows the solution to flow into every inside area, and treat the whole part uniformly removing supports effectively.
3D printing materials currently compatible with safeEtch:
– Ti-based alloys,
– Al-based alloys.
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Core benefits & features
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Choose the setup for your needs
safeEtch features various working chamber dimensions and chemical solutions to fit different printed object sizes, and material needs.
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Contact our specialist who will help you choose the right options with respect to your needs.
Reduced costs, increased production capacity
So far, every single metal support needed to be removed manually, often with high precision. Costs of support removal could exceed the costs of printing itself rising significantly the total cost of the manufacturing process for large batches.
Costs rise drastically with the production increase. Each part adds support structures to remove causing more time being spent on the overall additive manufacturing process.
safeEtch allows one person to operate multiple machines working simultaneously, therefore support removal is no longer a bottleneck in the metal 3D printing manufacturing process.
So far, printing could be done only in one layer of parts on the print bed, leaving a lot of unused space in the printer. The reason behind it is increased top surface roughness due to additional required support structures between stacked parts. Also, manually removing support material from between the printed models is time-consuming and creates the risk of damaging both parts.
With safeEtch it’s possible to use the whole Z-axis of the printer by stacking the parts. Supported surface roughness is reduced during the etching process.
New geometries possible
The concern about support material availability for removal is no longer real. Shapes of supported internal spaces can be designed freely without worrying about reaching support structures for their removal. Also on the outside new, complicated, and fragile shapes can be designed with no concern about their damage during support removal.
safeEtch also gives the freedom of supporting design – there is no more the trade off in support density between part stiffness and ease of support removal. The natural goal to reduce support numbers can be left for better product quality.
Customized support patterns can be implemented in standard CAD software for optimal support structure to save time and money.
During the process, powder particles that got stuck to the part during printing are removed. This is especially beneficial in medical and dental applications, where such particles can cause inflammation if they got loose after the implant installation.
Dissolving a uniform layer in the volume of the whole printout provides smoothened surface. The surface roughness can be controlled with process parameters. Depending on particular surface requirements processed part can be ready to use or require greatly reduced amount of surface finishing.
Unlike the electrochemical processes, during treatment part edges are not rounded but remain sharp. This is especially beneficial in case of e.g. threads etc.
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removal and finishing
technology for metal AM
No more manual support removal
To begin with, metal-AM postprocessing is difficult and could account for over 50% of the final price. Consequently, a manual labor needed for support removal is very often the most expensive part of 3D printing process.
On the other hand, safeEtch allows user to automatically remove supports without mechanical treatment and polishes surface even in places inaccessible with classical tools. Technology is based on chemical reaction accelerated with high-intensity ultrasonics.
At the present time, SafeEtch is protected by a patent and 2 patent applications.
Production capability increased in 3 simple steps
Focus on part stiffness only. No need to think about easy access to supports, or limiting their amount for efficient removal. Internal supports are no longer a challange. safeEtch allows for design freedom that has never been available before. Customized supporting strategies can be implemented in standard CAD software saving time and money.
Mass production with SLM/PBF/DMLS is often limited to a single layer of printouts while stacking has been an advantage of EBM technology.
With safeEtch it is true no more. Having an effect of dissolvable supports we can freely stack multiple elements in the Z-axis without worrying about time consuming postprocessing.
Instead of spending whole day on one printout, a person can operate multiple machines working simultaneously. After the process parts are support-free and polished, edges are sharp and geometry well preserved.
As a result, safeEtch provides increased production efficiency, printout quality and process repeatability, reducing per-part cost.
Perfect surface and sharp edges
With assistance of ultrasonics, etchant will infiltrate each part of printed structure also internal supports in flexible joints and complex structures.
safeEtch reduces surface roughness, including internal channels and scaffold structures. Unlike electrochemical processes, ultrasonically assisted etching removes an uniform layer of material. Not only it smoothens the surface, but also keeps sharp edges.
The 4 safeEtch design principles
Firstly, internal filters connected to reaction chamber ensure that all dangerous gasseous byproducts, including NOx are neutralized. During device design, ease of use and user safety were no. 1 priorities.
Secondly, all concerns regarding tradeoffs between support stiffnes and ease for removal are in the past. Process of optimum support design is automated with dedicated software.
Thirdly, high intensity ultrasonics ensure constant flow of the etchant in internal features and enables removal of solid or gaseous byproducts. Ultrasonic cavitation prevents localized corrosion and provides high uniformity.
Last but not least, chemicals are designed to provide fast reaction to dissolute supports within minutes and without any pitting risk. No organic solvents are used and etching solution is neutralized right after the process.