The thing that really stands out to me on this machine is not the material but the geometry control.
To date virtually every AM/3D machine has used soem form of gantry in a box to position the printing head. X/Y/Z coordinates. These guys saw that we already know other ways to locate a given position in space accurately with angles and distances.
The belt driven gantries may be more cost effective on a smaller scale but this definately takes us "outside the box" in a very literal sense.
This is an interesting development, and if it produces adequate strength materials it could be a real game changer. But there are certainly challenges in creating the programs needed to make it run, since typical industrial robots similar to the one shown have six non-orthagonal axis. So the creation of a program to convert a 3D design ito a required tool path will certainly be quite a challenge. But it would seem that the results will indeed be woth the effort.
I think you brought up an important point, William - material strength. I'm not an ME, and it has been years since I studied Engineering Materials. But I do recall that the various processes of part production would be used to change the properties of the material - forging drawing, heating, quenching, and so on.
I'm curious to know if the process of the 'welding' can be used to manipulate the physical properties - I guess maybe changing the speed of the process, maybe adding a water/oil cooling bath or something of the kind.
Also, would it be possible to create a smooth continous deposition?
JC Bond, welding always affects the properties of materials, and it depends a lot on just exactly how th welding is done as to what those effects are. In addition to just joining materials elding can be a means of adding different alloying materials, and that can also change the properties.
Likewise for me it was a long time ago in college when Imstudied materials, but after entering the engineering profession it became clear to me that much more understanding of a whole lot more areas would be very handy. So my education has continued for all these years to include mechanical engineering, pneumatics and hydraulics, kinematics, and some chemistry. Aside from that a seroius study of writing and speaking make it a lot easier to get my ideas across.
Now the new developments such as 3D printing are also quite fascinating, and the game is indeed changing.
As for this particular metal-printing process, the strength will dependa whole lot on just exactly what the process is. The writeup did not describe the exact method in any detail, so we don't know strong it will be. My one experience with anything close to 3D metal printing was building up metal using a wire-feed gas-shielded welder. That assembly, a hammer-plate for acamping light post, has lasted over 20 years. So it must be fairly strong. It was a very early, very primative, example of manual 3D metal printing.
14 seconds into the video, the robot begins welding a vertical rod. But to the sides, to the back, one can see the remnants of previous experiments which were cut off the floor plate, and a circular hollow cylinder that was apparently too difficult to remove.
I wonder if they have control over wire feed speed and the welder's current.
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