Issue 3
Monday, 30 April 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Lawrence Cram, Co-inventor of the LightSPEE3D printer Steven Camilleri and Director of AMA Rebecca Murray
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Lawrence Cram, Co-inventor of the LightSPEE3D printer Steven Camilleri and Director of AMA Rebecca Murray

3D printer project takes close to a million in funding

By Leanne Miles

Charles Darwin University in partnership with SPEE3D and industry partner INPEX have received funding from National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) as part of a new $946 000 project aiming to lead industry collaboration and drive innovation across Australia’s energy resources sector.

The funding will see NERA collaborate with technology developer SPEE3D, CDU and INPEX to support the development of new high-speed, low-cost metal 3D printing technology specifically for the oil and gas industry.

The current 3D printer is at the centre of a new industrial transformation research hub for advanced manufacturing in the Northern Territory, known as the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA).

The AMA is an open alliance founded by the Darwin-based start-up company that invented the printer, SPEE3D, and CDU.

Director of AMA Dr Rebecca Murray said the technology operated around 1000 times the speed of conventional metal 3D printing at a fraction of the cost and has the potential to revolutionise industrial activities in remote areas by allowing onsite metal part production.

“This new project aims to use the same technology of the current SPEE3D printer to build a larger printer called WarpSPEE3D,” Dr Murray said.

“The new printer should be able to print larger parts of up to one metre cubed compared to the current maximum of 300 millimetres cubed performed by the LightSPEE3D machine.”

The technology will enable environments to fabricate necessary parts on-site and limit costly delays associated with downtimes that can be in the order of tens of millions of dollars.

This is one of seven projects supported by the Federal Government through the industry-led growth centre NERA that will share the $1.8 million in funding. The projects are backed by oil and gas, coal and uranium sector operators through industry-matched funding.

Dr Murray said that the team at CDU were currently working with INPEX to identify possible applications of both printers to the oil and gas industry.

“Once we have feedback on the requirements of industry we will be able to print and test parts at CDU," she said.