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Fluent Metal launches liquid metal printing with $5.5M in funding

Led by industry veterans from Desktop Metal, Vulcan Forms, and the MIT Media Lab

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Fluent Metal, a newly formed company led by industry veterans from Desktop Metal, Vulcan Forms, and the MIT Media Lab, is developing production-grade liquid metal printing to remove barriers to entry into metal additive manufacturing, while allowing for unmatched scalability and process tunability.

The company is launching with an additional $3.2M in venture capital funding, led by E15 with participation from Pillar VC and industry angels, bringing the total funding to $5.5M. Fluent Metal’s drop-on-demand approach to liquid metal printing is compatible with most metals, including refractories, and enables the creation of parts in a single-step process, minimizing variability. It is also energy efficient, using less starting material and producing no waste – making it far more sustainable than current powder-based metal 3D printers.

“Drop-on-demand technology is an elegant approach to create complex metal components,” said Peter Schmitt, CEO of Fluent Metal. “Whether it’s prototype iterations of an idea or production runs of a single part, Fluent Metal will provide customers with great operational and material flexibility. This freedom will unlock new creativity and problem-solving abilities across industries.”

Fluent Metal launches liquid metal printing with $5.5M in funding - led by veterans from Desktop Metal, Vulcan Forms, and the MIT Media Lab.

Fluent Metal is developing an alternative lean overhead process, to make it more sustainable, operationally efficient, and functional – using an inkjet printer-like approach. Fluent Metal’s drop-on-demand approach is:

Functional – using wire as the starting material and producing no waste, Fluent Metal enables true multi-metal printing. It’s possible for even high-value metals to be intricately combined; creating properties never before possible. Complex shapes such as fully enclosed voids and internal channels are possible due to the inkjet-like printhead and parallel throughput.

Operationally efficient – Fluent Metal’s approach is designed to operate safely on a typical manufacturing floor or even in a prototyping shop, without the need for clean rooms or expensive safety measures. Additionally, material changeover is designed to be as easy as plug-and-play, reducing setup efforts and allowing for higher machine uptimes.

Sustainable – this approach produces no waste and uses less energy than powder-based technologies.

“As the manufacturing industry evolves in response to the changing needs of global supply chains and sustainability demands, we need novel approaches to drive creativity and expand our collective conception about what’s possible,” said Philip Liang, Managing Partner at E15. “In the near term, Fluent Metal will spark the imagination of designers, engineers, and technologists to consider how rapid, on-demand production of custom metal parts could transform their capabilities. At scale, this approach will revolutionize the entire footprint and direction of industrial manufacturing.”

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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