Metal-making 3D printers currently cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, use powerful and dangerous lasers, and use up large amounts of gases and electricity to operate. Desktop Metal intends to take that functionality and make it more accessible to consumers with the help of backing from top venture capitalists. Its co-founder and CEO Ric Fulop said, “Metal 3D printing has been out of the reach of most companies because it’s very expensive and slow. We’re developing a system that’s very fast and more accessible.” Even without a working prototype, Desktop Metal has been able to gain up to $14 million in funding from NEA, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Lux Capital and Stratasys.
Desktop Metal is made up of scientists and engineers from MIT, lithium-ion battery company A123 Systems, 3D design software provider SolidWorks, and robotics company Kiva Systems, and intends to grow quickly with another 20 people expected to be hired in the next six months. Fulop said, “We’re trying to make a machine that you can buy, plug it in, and use it in your office.” Further details on the company’s proposed technology are sparse, although Fulop said that they would be employing a process that’s “completely different” and will not use lasers.