Motors From Another Dimension

First 3D-printed electric motor?

Expect this at Hannover-Messe 2018: a 3D-printed electric motor.

German researchers broke through recently after a two-and-a-half year effort to duplicate every component of a functional motor. What sets this apart from other 3D-printed motors is said to be its heat resistance capabilities. Prototypes include three different material versions, released simultaneously: copper, iron and ceramics.

Using metallic and ceramic pastes, extruded layer by layer into a predetermined form and then sintered together, researchers from the Chemnitz University of Technology (Professorship of Electrical Energy Conversion Systems and Drives) were able to 3D-print an entire electric motor. “We will present this innovation, the first of its kind in the world, at the ‘Hannover Messe 2018’ trade fair,” Prof. Dr. Ralf Werner, head of the Professorship, said on April 17. The world-renowned trade fair begins Monday, April 23. Last year, two members of Werner’s academic staff, Johannes Rudolph and Fabian Lorenz, presented a 3D-printed coil capable of withstanding temperatures over 300°C. Since that time, they have successfully printed all other important components. This includes copper electrical conductors, which create magnetic fields in combination with iron or iron alloys and ceramic electrical insulation, which insulates the conductors from each other and from the iron components, referred to as the magnetic circuit.

While this is clearly a breakthrough, it may not be a technical ‘first’. Witness this 3-D motor made by Christoph Laimer, showcased on YouTube over a year ago:

We’ll let you be the judge of the true first. 3D printers are being used to make customized parts on a regular basis nowadays. They can be seen at motor shops and around the manufacturing world. Oftentimes, a 3D printer’s usefulness comes from being able to leave it on overnight to supplement employee hours from the day shift.

Other ‘firsts’ found today:

New 1,000 hp motor for Rotochopper (recycling machine)

A first in machinery (triple row one step blowers)


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