100: Charged Printing – 3D Printed Solid State Batteries

Matt and Sean talk about 3D printing of solid state batteries and their applications.

Watch the Undecided with Matt Ferrell episode, “Why 3D Printing Batteries Matters”: https://youtu.be/Jlt8_z86F-o

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That’s right hello everybody welcome to the still to be determined podcast. This is the podcast that follows up on topics from the Youtube channel undecided with Matt ferrell I am not Matt ferrell I’m sean ferrell. And Matthew’s brother I’m a writer I’ll be asking questions and Matthew is with us as well. He’s gonna stay silent until I say say hello Matthew man well played classic game of feral chicken.
Hello matthew.
Just a real quick reminder before we get into this episode. There are ways you can directly support the podcast if you’re on youtube you can look down below this video and find the join button where you will then be able to join us and become conjoin twins with Matthew and I there’s also so still tbd di fm. Where you can throw quarters at our head through the donate Button. We appreciate whatever kind of support. You’re able to give that was me trying out a new radio voice did you like it Matt good good. All right all right? So today. We’re gonna be talking about.
I liked it I liked you need to do that more often. No right.
3 d printing solid state batteries question mark explained interesting grammar there Matt yeah, this episode aired on december twenty first twenty twenty one and right off the bat I have to say you do a pretty good impression of a teacher.
Yeah I know.
In this 1 where you invite people to jump in with the solid state battery. Anybody anyone anyone? No I just wanted to bring that up because I always hated it when teachers did that it always felt like an incredibly awkward moment that I just wanted to end.
Anyone anyone.
And it always seemed to go on for far too long as teachers would stare knowingly into our eyes saying I know you know, but why won’t you say so you end up in this video with a. An extremely interesting conversation around the 3 d production of solid state batteries. 1 thing you didn’t go into was that jumped out at me was what are the size requirements. Of this kind of tech are we seeing an evolution to the 3 d printing where this is getting smaller. The reason I bring that up is because I’m wondering about Mobility around this is this the kind of thing that would be seen exclusively in say a factory. Making cars or phones or is this something that could potentially be seen as a mobile production facility where you could go into. Let’s say there’s a terrible horror hurricane of some sort and you could have a truck arrive. From a government agency that could begin to print out batteries for people to be able to plug devices into.
You? Well I could you could say yes you could do that. Ah, the problem though would be speed how fast can the machine produce what it’s producing because they can make 3 d printers super small depending on what you’re trying to make um a lot of companies like. Apple computers. It’s like when they’re prototyping new things. They have machines like this in their labs when they’re designing chips and for chip fabrication. They’re basically printing and manufacturing these 1 ne-off chips themselves to try things out so it’s like this stuff exists in companies in small scale and then for this. Probably would make the most sense in a factory where you have dozens and dozens of these machines is pumping out the batteries. So I don’t know if you would make sense to like print batteries on location and for an emergency but I could see 3 printers being a thing for printing other things that might be useful in those emergency situations. So. 3 d printing is really caught my kind of imagination because it’s where it’s coming up. It’s everywhere it is everywhere now there’s a company that’s actually printing 3 d rockets that are gonna be shot into space so they’re printing metal 3 d rockets like full scale. Like spacex-sized rockets. It’s like it is crazy what you can do with this everything from printing a cpu to batteries to whatever you can think of it feels like we can pretty much do it now and because of the efficiency of the way a 3 d printer works. You can actually make things. That are very difficult to manufacture any other way and it has less waste because of the way it’s printing. So. It’s like this is this crazy cool technology. It’s part of the reason why I made this video because it’s it’s like. Did 3 d printed homes and it’s like as the more I was going and down the 3 rabbit hole. It was like oh and we’re making batteries and we’re making rockets and we’re making this thing over here. It’s like it’s stuff I didn’t even know we were able to do yet. It’s really really cool technology.
That kind of ties in to a couple of the comments that I was going to share later in the episode. So I’ll jump in and share those now this 1 from Steve v who wrote this is the precursor to the star trek replicator. We just have to keep at it so that we can print with smaller and smaller components till we get to printing with atoms custom parts ordering is already a thing once an interface is created where imagination can be given Shape. We’ll see this industry flourish exponentially artisans tradesmens etc will be able to order anything they need like. Discontinued parts, specialty tools, etc and it really does like you just basically described what stevie was was describing in his comment. Yeah.
It is replicator. It’s a replicator. It’s like 1 of the concepts of traveling to Mars is that the astronauts would have a 3 printer with them and in an emergency. It’s like let some it breaks an arm. It’s like you print out basically a cast for that person. So it’s like you’re printing only what you need when you need it. And you’re not having to take all the stuff with you. You just have a machine that can make whatever you want. It’s it’s really It’s really kind of cool like I would love to see 1 of these in everybody’s home for whatever you need. It’s like oh my thing of my door broke. We’ll just print 1 out and replace it. It’s really really cool.
Right? There was also this comment from think too much interesting name think too much wrote constructive critique. It would be more comprehensive if this video covered recycling. It’s interesting because you. You do cover up to the waste produced in Production. What is the recycling side of this is this a material which when you have when the printing is done and you pull out your device. Are there waste particles that are effectively now just permanent garbage or is this something where you’re able to take that material that wasn’t used in the production of the thing you’re holding and put that back into the process or how does that all.
It depends on the it depends on what materials are getting used so it’s like you can’t say ah hundred percent across the board. Oh you can recycle at all that that would be not true because there are some 3 d like I brought it up. There’s the method that basically heats plastic and you’re basically printing plastic plastic is not great at. We’re not great at recycling plastic. We just aren’t we were sold a false bill bill of goods. We don’t do a good job at it. So a lot of that plastic waste may not be able to be recycled or doesn’t get recycled where if you’re making something that’s being made out of mental Metal. It’s like you could absolutely recycle the the waste the stuff that’s not being used but again to come back to it. There’s not a lot of waste. It’s like this minimizes the amount of waste that you have if you’re carving something out of a solid block of aluminum there’s a ton of aluminum waste by the time the product’s done. You can recycle it where if you printed something like that. There’s basically and going to be very little waste because you’re not. Shaving away, you’re building up so it’s it’s it’s a 2 different sides of the same coin. But yes, recycling can be done but it depends on materials being used.
You mentioned in the video the company saku is potentially going to be very close to beginning to create these these batteries that they’ve that they’ve envisioned and the batteries as described are. Half is expensive to produce and are actually more efficient than the existing tech.
They will not right now that that that is where they see the price going once they’re up at commercial scale. So that that price projection is where they anticipate being once they’ve hit commercial product. So as the it could take them a year or 2
And how long do they think that’ll take them to get there.
It’ it’s it’s it’s going to be a long run to get to get there but we I don’t we don’t have to wait long because these companies are starting up pilot projects right now and scaling up over the next 1 to 2 years so it’s part of the reason I wanted to talk about this specifically because it’s like it’s we’re right on the cusp of seeing how this actually pans out and we don’t have to wait. 10 years we’re only going to wait 1 to 2 years so I could see myself doing a follow-up video for this next year around this time seeing how it’s gone how it’s worked out have the projects proved out to be viable or is or are they kind of faltering and taking longer than expected.
And back to saku again you mentioned in the video that they have announced that they are on the verge of being able to start working with targeted partners. Do we know who these targeted partners are so.
Whenever you see that it’s because the company is refusing to say because it’s like there’s like ndas and agreements where it’s like they can’t actually name them I’ve talked to battery recycling companies where they’ve told me the same thing of like to my face I’m like they’re like and we have targeted Partners. We’re working with on this process like you tell me who it is. And they never will actually name it I’ve been given a little wink and a nod as to like who it might be and it’s usually like oh it’s like a Vw or a Gm. It’s like a big company that’s working with them. So It’s like when they say targeted partners. Yeah exactly it’s like for a company for a company like this. It could be a very big company that they’re partnered with but we will never know.
Right. Right? rhymes with schmapple. Yeah.
It’s like we won’t find out until you know, 2 years down the line.
And do you think that this is the kind of situation where these companies that are on the verge of beginning to do this. Will we see these companies gobbled up by bigger companies will an apple or a Tesla suddenly swoop in and just like swallow this company whole.
I Have a hunch. I Think that’s what you’re going to see a lot of because it’s It’s 1 of those just the way all battery companies are just kind of like becoming conglomerates like it’s Lg you know C Atl It’s like these massive battery companies or a car company like tesla. I Think for something like this I could see Lg just coming into this scooping them up and suddenly they’re part of Lg. It’s like I don’t see these small little startups necessarily becoming a major player in batteries I see them becoming part of a technology stack for somebody else.
Right? And if that in fact, does happen How optimistic are you that they don’t get swallowed up just so that the patent can be put on a shelf.
Ah, yeah I don’t think that’s goingnna happen if this technology proves out to be the like workout like they claim it’s going to be It’s absolutely going to get used. Um, it would only get shelved if it turns out that it’s they can’t get the price point down to where they expected to get It’s like that’s the only way that you. Shelved.
Couple of other comments I wanted to share include this 1 from zaroth who wrote I’m interested if the 3 d printing could help produce and this and zurroth I got to give a tip of the hat. This is an extremely detailed comment which. I had to read a couple of times to wrap my old brain around so you’ll excuse me if I stumble through the wording a little bit I’m interested if 3 d printing could help produce more intricate solid electrolyte topologies as this has been seen to help create a better interface between ceramic electrolytes. And the electrode light and then the electrodes this interface is the biggest challenge for solid state batteries in my opinion. Also I would be interested to know more about how much waste is saved using 3 d printing as batteries are not made like other components using cnc machines. I’ve always used 3 d printing as a prototype method and seen it for see it more bespoke for low volume products. So I’ll be looking out for its application in mass manufacturing. It seems like xurroth is touching on the idea of. Could you in effect 3 d print large components of say a car where the body of the car would include within it battery elements is that.
It’s conceivable. It’s absolutely conceivable I don’t I don’t know if anybody is actually trying to do that. But it’s conceivable that you could do it? Um, the other thing he brings up is just the whole speed issue which is for me the giant question Mark because. When you have like when you’re talking about tooling around manufacturing batteries. It’s optimized to create an incredible flow of batteries out of the machine where this it’s like however fast it prints is how fast that line is going to go so it’s like how fast can it actually print that stuff out. So the question, the question Mark around speed. For me is still there. It’s still a giant question Mark but it it seems like it could be a surmountable problem if these companies can make this pan out. Um, but his comment of There’re not being a lot of waste based on battery manufacturing I don’t know where he’s getting the information because I have found the exact opposite. It’s like all you have to do is look at tesla look at when they were ramping up their battery production for the Tesla model 3 the battery production they’re doing now for their new forty 86 cells. It’s like there’s an incredible amount of waste from battery production. Like an astonishing amount of waste because they’re cells that are just not viable. It’s like they go into q a and it’s like oh this 1 ne’s a bad cell you chuck it into a pile same thing for cpus. It’s like there’s lots of just bad cpus ended up in a a waste bin and then those things have to be broken down and recycled so there’s an immense.
Um, right.
I’d be interested to know if if the measurement the zaroth is referring to is on a when you’ve produced 1 thing how much waste is around that thing versus how much waste is there in the entire production line and if you’re suggesting that.
Ah, if fifteen percent of your batteries coming off the line are useless to you. That’s a lot of waste as opposed to yeah as opposed to there may be a different measurement being used by zuroff as saying well when you have 1 battery done. There’s only a few bits of waste around it therefore it’s an efficient process.
That’s what I’m saying yes.
So it is it really is about how zoomed in or pulled back. You are from the process.
Yes, that’s a very good point. Yeah I’m looking at the zoomed out process at the end of the like when you look at the whole thing. There’s a lot of waste and battery production which is part of the reason why all these companies are spinning up recycling efforts I don’t know what the efficacy of the 3 d.
Um, right.
Batteries are yet so it’s like I don’t know what their failure rate is for the batteries. They’re printing. But if they could get battery production up really high high levels and then there’s very little waste from the actual manufacturing process. It’s like it could be a win but we also need to see what these pilot projects are as they spin them up over the next year to see. What those kind of results are in fact.
Right? And the pilot projects that are being talked about right now. How big do you know how big those batteries are are we talking about something that’s the equivalent of a Aaa or a nine volt or is it something much larger than that.
It depends on who the partners are so it’s like imagine they’re working with let’s say they were working with a Vw and they wanted battery cells. It’s like they could be big battery cells who knows who knows what they’re going to be it depends on what the partner needs and what the partner wants to test exactly.
Or they could be working with cassio and just making watch batteries.
Could be a tiny little batteries for an apple watch who knows it’s like it’s it depends on what this hush Hush disagreements. They’ve got going on are but my guess is they’re probably testing multiple different styles and multiple different sizes and capacities to really kind of put the system through its paces to see where the weaknesses are to make improvements.
And then Beyond battery production is there. You mentioned apple using 3 d printing to prototype new tech how far away. Do you think we are from a company saying like. We’ll make the whole kit and caboodle for you. We’re going to 3 d print you a phone and it is going to be top to bottom. The entire thing is going to be 3 d printed by us including it’s going to 3 d print the glass Screen. It’s going to 3 d print the battery and the computer components inside. They’re all going to be on 1 board because it’s all going to be 1 device. It’s going to be 1 solid thing how far away from that. Are we.
I would I would have no idea at that point you’re talking kind of sci-fi land. You’re still talking star trek at that point that could be 50 years away it’s like who who knows it’s like I don’t know for a 3 d printing glass yet. So it’s like it’s 1 of those we can 3 d print. Plastic. So if you’re talking about a plastic screen. Maybe we can do it that way. But I don’t know how clear it is or how durable it is so it’s like it all comes down to how good we get at 3 d printing each individual component and then somebody come in and say hey we can do it all so I don’t I don’t don’t know feels like a far off future for that.
Um, yeah.
They’d be pretty cool though. Finally this comment from Trevor Hook and this is getting into some nitty gritty detail I don’t know if you have the answer to this but Trevor writes my interest in this depends on the total weight reduction and energy density increase.
It would be awesome. Yeah.
Her leader when changing from liquid to solid state batteries and I seem to have missed this while watching this video are those elements that you are aware of and can speak about intelligently or should you and I both say but and just move on from here.
He’s talking more about like are solid state batteries really that much better than liquid. So it’s like are they all going to be fifty percent lighter and have twice as and twice as much energy density that that question is still. It’s been proven in a lab. Yes, we can solid State batteries can be made far more energy dense and lighter than a typical with themim. Um, battery today that has been proven. The question Mark is how quickly can we get to the point where we’re manufacturing them at an affordable price that’s actually competitive against the Batteries. We’re able to make today. Problem with that is the current batteries are not standing still there are advancements being made on the kinds of batteries we’re making today tesla is a great example. They’re forty 86 cells they have a whole new manufacturing process. The dry electrode process they’re coming up with they have all this different stuff. They’re doing that is dramatically dropping the will dramatically drop the production costs. In time. So it’s like solid state batteries come out and it’s like okay well the new tesla battery is actually not that far off from what that brand new solid state can actually achieve and it costs half as much as that battery. So it’s like it’s solid state has to advance very quickly to catch up to that price point to become. Competitive to make the case for themselves and they just aren’t there right now because nobody’s doing them at scale nobody is so it’s like we have to wait until the first companies really start to come out and really get up to speed before anybody can actually say what it’s actually capable of and what it’s going to cost. It’s ah it’s not just the energy density. It’s also the. Overall costs because that’s that’s what’s going to win the day at the end.
Yeah, it seems like this is a case where the goal posts are moving while we’re also making progress but it it if it’s a marathon as opposed to a dash. Hopefully the.
Yes, that’s great. Yes.
The newest text will have the opportunity to catch up to the longstanding 1 because it does seem like there would absolutely be some benefits that would come out of them so listeners. What do you think about all this would you be interested In. Walking into a radio shack and having them 3 D print Ufo tell us what you think about this, let us know if you’ve ever heard of Radio shack.
That’s good to say you just made a reference from Nineteen eighty sean.
That’s right, you can find the contact information in the podcast description or on youtube you can just scroll directly below the video and go to the comments there in any event please do subscribe. Forget there are ways you can directly support the podcast you can visit still tbd fm and you can throw quarters at us. We try to catch them with our mouths and that’s why we have chipped teeth. You can also scroll beneath this video on youtube and find the join button and. Become a member. Whatever kind of support. You’re able to give we greatly appreciate it. Even if all, you’re able to do is listen or watch please be sure to give us a rating review share us with your friends all of that really does help the podcast. The podcast helps the channel the channel helps Matthew and then Matthew. Reminds me that I’m old because I know what radio shack is thanks so much for listening everybody. We’ll talk to you later.
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