(Image credit: Rosotics) - Mantis

A few months ago, Rosotics, a start-up based in Mesa-AZ, US, turned stealth mode off with the closing of a $750,000 pre-seed round. At the heart of its activities? The development of a 3D printer that could produce big enough structures for many applications – safely.

To do so, the team led by Christian LaRosa is working on a new way to print metals called “rapid induction printing.” This technique would make use of the conductive property of metal to generate heat from within the feedstock. The ultimate goal at the end of the process would be the creation of hardware that is a lot more efficient and simple and less dangerous for the people who operate it.

Named Mantis, the first completed prototype of Rosotics’ 3D printer is a huge, unfolding contraption capable of printing 45 kg of material per hour on the power from a standard 240V outlet.

Having a new process that is more efficient [and] does away with the laser entirely allows you to not only push more mass through that nozzle, but you can also run more nozzles at the same time,” said Christian LaRosa, founder and CEO of Rosotics.

One of the hurdles Rosotics had to overcome, was the processing of non-ferromagnetic materials like aluminium but by designing a unique nozzle using a blend of materials (including cobalt), the team has been able to solve this challenge.

To date, the 3D printer can manufacture large-format parts up to 30 feet (9m) in diameter, produced in aerospace-grade steel and aluminum.

Rosotics is currently in contact with aerospace companies that could be interested in Mantis. Moving forward, the company would increase the types of feedstock that can be used in Mantis and broaden sales to industries such as energy and maritime.

The first units are scheduled for delivery in October this year with a price tag of $95,000.

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