MetalicaRap is an open 3D metal printer & home solar cell printer, based on the principles of electron beam welding and vapor deposition. MetalicaRap is currently in the design stage. The goal is to have affordable home-manufacturing of solar cells, key electrical parts and milled-quality metal parts.
An electron beam based printer was chosen due to the ability to print its self, the power efficiency of an electron gun vs. a powerful laser at fusing metal, and the fact that an electron gun and vacuum chamber are the primary requirements for thin film solar cell printers. It was recognized that the printer did not require a new technological invention, but does require the existing solutions to become publicly accessible through grassroots research and re-engineering.
One of the goals is a solar cell production plant design that MetalicaRap will be able to print, that will utilize MetalicaRap’s vacuum chamber and beam for the solar cell manufacturing processes. For a typical family home electrical system we may bring the solar cell cost down from 10,000 euro to 400 euro by self printing. (Solar cell installation, inverter, and other costs would obviously be on top of this price).
21% of all solar cells manufactured used the CIGS process (2011), it works at the same vacuum of 10-4 Torr as the metal printer, by creating metal layers by directly co-evaporating readily available targets Video of; copper gallium mix, copper indium mix, selenium sulfur mix, molybdenum backing layer, tin oxide front contact onto a heated substrate with a chemically dipped buffer layer and a front copper alloy electrical collector strip . This CIGS thin film manufacturing process will consist of electron beam physical vapor deposition (EBPVD summary material)Other precursor choices including CIS may also be possible.
(Quelle und weitere Informationen: reprap.org/wiki/MetalicaRap)