Aurora Labs has built a metal powder machine it says can make high-quality powders for 3D printers at a lower cost.

3D metal printing (also known as additive manufacturing) involves adding layer upon layer of metal powder.

Materials include stainless steels, aluminium, nickel, cobalt-chrome and titanium alloys — but there are plenty more potential metals out there.

The Aurora Labs prototype Powder Production Unit is the subject of a patent application (pending since 2016) for “apparatus and method for forming powder”.

Metal powder production is seen as critical to the mass adoption of metal 3D printing for manufacturing.

Aurora (ASX:A3D) hopes the prototype will allow bulk production.

“Once the development of powders commences, Aurora will explore the significant opportunities available in international markets, where there is a large demand for metal powders, in addition to applying this technology to other powder metal markets external to 3D printing.”

Aurora Labs (A3D) share price movements over the past three months.
Aurora Labs (A3D) share price movements over the past three months.

The stock closed down 2.5 per cent on Thursday to 78c, from highs of $1.30 when it announced a partnership with engineering giant Worley Parsons late last year.

Further testing of the prototype is expected in the year to come, from which the company intends to build a full sized unit capable of producing up to 5 tonnes per day of powder – in line with their projections to increase capacity to 1 tonne per 24 hours.

Aurora raised $5 million last month at an issue price of 80c, with a further $3 million to be raised as part of a security purchase plan – the money will fund the development of the super sized printer made with the CSIRO.