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Help Needed, 3D Printing Via Electroplating Answered

A few years ago I saw a 3D printer that printed using UV reactive resin and a DLP projector and I obviously started thinking about ways to make this for myself. Recently I have been entertaining the idea of repurposing the old CRT technology with phosphors that produce UV light to replace expensive DLP projectors but I couldn't think of an easy way to do that. I was fiddling with various ways of repurposing one of my old CRT monitors when I had a decent idea. Instead of converting electron beams into light to harden resin why don't we harness the electron beams for the purpose of electroplating! Instead of resin we could use an ion solution and build models out of metal! Of course we would still need to replace the phosphors embedded glass screen with a conductive plate to serve as a non-consumable anode. Unfortunately I do not have the time or resources to do this myself so I wanted to post this to the Instructables Community and see If anyone felt this was a worthwhile project. 

Please let me know what you think of the idea! I would love to see this turn into an actual project.


Why not use the photoelectric effect instead?


2 years ago

It could work if the gap between the build plate and the anode is small. I also wonder if the metal ions will be reduced to metal. Ordinary electro plating the voltages are low, accelerating an electron beam in a old CRT means high voltage.

Electroplating only forms a layer microns thick. You might take a very long time to create any substantial 3D model. Once you get the the first layer done, I would think the electron beam would run into interference or be dissipated by the ion solution.

The thickness of the plating depends heavily on the the process and the materials used. It is already a common practice to use electrodeposition to build a stand alone object, look up electroforming for more information. I can't really comment much on how the electron beam would be dissipated by the solution however I can say that the distance the ion beam would travel from the anode to the model would remain constant through the build process therefore if it would work for the first layer it would work for the rest of them just like the dlp resin printer. If you need a reference, this idea was inspired by this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IPmP0u1HuUM. the mechanics would basically be the same

would it be possible to control the layer height to keep it consistent enough to be sure that each layer would be .01mm thick? im a noob with electroplating, but you'd have to make it so that each layer is the same thickness or else you'll run into problems later in the print

Yes it must be possible, i thought a idea about ecm and edm technologies and found them actualy in youtube .You can google laser sintering powdered materials and patents .The patent http://www.google.com/patents/US5733497 will make you think more....We as a race have difficulties to change becauce we are trapted in our mind thats why people will tell you it is difficult or it cant be done .