buhler_die_casting liquidmetal

Cult of Mac has an interesting post up that shows some of the truly spectacular LiquidMetal injection moulding and manufacturing processes that will let Apple make stronger, better, faster unibodies, antennas, and pretty much everything else. Here are some choice quotes:

  • Apple will soon start experimenting with a new prototype injection molding machine, says Drew Merkel, who is perhaps the most knowledgeable third-party expert on Liquidmetal Technologies. It may allow Apple to make advanced iPhone antennas and seamless gadget cases with holographic logos cast right into the metal.
  • The part in the picture above is a good example of the machine’s capabilities. Made for the aerospace industry, if it had been manufactured traditionally, it would have undergone several rounds of cutting, milling, drilling, threading, deburring, routing and sandblasting, Merkel said. Instead, the part was cast in one operation and requires no further processing.
  • The alloys, also known as bulk metallic glasses, are as strong as titanium but use only one-third of the material. It can be mixed with very small amounts of precious metals to make jewelry-like finishes, or optimized for functions such as an antenna. And while titanium scratches and magnesium corrodes, Liquidmetal is scratch and corrosion proof, and resistant to greasy marks. “You get fingerprints all over them and they just disappear,” Merkel says. “You could add gold or silver to get a beautiful look you’ve never seen before.”

Read the full article for more, but suffice it to say Apple SVP of design, Jony Ive, might just have some new toys to play with for iPhone 6 and iPad 3.

[Cult of Mac]