Rosotics unveiled a prototype March 24 of the Mantis, a metal 3D printing platform the company is marketing for aerospace applications. Pictured left to right: SeedScout founder Mat Sherman and Christian LaRosa, Rosotics co-founder and CEO. Credit: Rosotics

SAN FRANCISCO – Rosotics will begin deliveries later this year of new type of 3D printer for large aerospace structures.

Traditional 3D printers rely on high-power lasers to heat metal wire or feedstock. Rosotics heats the feedstock with a magnetic field in the 3D printer nozzle.

“You get the same end result without the laser in that process,” Christian LaRosa, Rosotics co-founder and CEO, told SpaceNews. “That helps efficiency enormously. We are powering the Mantis using a single cord going into a 240-volt power outlet.”

Mesa, Arizona-based Rosotics plans to begin delivering the Mantis in the third quarter of 2023 to customers who place $95,000 deposits and sign hardware-as-a-service contracts.

After delivery, Rosotics “will install, maintain and upgrade your hardware over time without any cost to you,” LaRosa said.

While the Mantis can be configured for various tasks, the starting point is a one printhead to additively manufacture aluminum or steel structures ranging in size from 1.5 to 8 meters in diameter.

Rosotics unveiled the Mantis prototype March 24, one day after Relativity conducted its first launch of the 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket.

“Relativity has developed this capability of 3D printing a launch vehicle for Relativity,” LaRosa said. “We’ve been focused on creating a new form of metal additive that will reduce the difficulty in getting 3D printing implemented in a field like aerospace.”

Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Tucson, Arizona-based Phantom Space, said Rosotics printers could prove useful to launch vehicle manufacturers.

Rosotics will need to prove the Mantis’ printed parts “have consistent metallurgical properties,” Cantrell said. “But it looks promising.”  

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...