Gurman: Some Apple Watch Series 9 Models to be 3D Printed

Gurman: Some Apple Watch Series 9 Models to be 3D Printed

A report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple has decided to use 3D printing to manufacture the chassis of some models of its Apple Watch Series 9 lineup.

Gurman sources say Apple is testing 3D printers to produce the stainless steel chassis for some of the models. This would remove the need to machine large slabs of metal into the needed shape. The production time and the cost of creating the chassis should both be reduced.

Gurman also says the new process should decrease the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. The process, which is called binder jetting, uses a powdered substance. It then goes through a process called sintering, which uses heat and pressure to squeeze the material into what feels like traditional steel. There is still some milling of the finished piece, much like the previous process.

Apple is expected to limit the test run to select stainless steel models.

While Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in July said he expected the 3D printing process to be used to manufacture the 2nd-generation Apple Watch Ultra, Gurman says the Ultra watch won’t use the 3D printing process to manufacture the Ultra until 2024 at the earliest.

Apple will premiere its new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 lineups during the Apple “Wonderlust” media event on Tuesday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.