Hybrid additive/subtractive systems for printing and finishing metal parts have been around for years now. With these systems, a part is completely printed and then is brought to necessary tolerances (i.e., edges, details, surface finish) through machining. It’s always been “first build it, then cut and polish it.”
A process developed by 3DEO Inc. (3deo.co) uses a radically different hybrid method.
3DEO’s process makes metal 3D printed production parts to spec in a counterintuitive way. The company’s Intelligent Layering system, like other liquid binder systems, applies a binder to a bed of metal powder to build a part that will eventually be sintered in a furnace. While some systems apply the binder only where it is needed to build up the part, Intelligent Layering instead goes wide: the binder is applied uniformly over the entire powder bed.