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Engineering Materials
3D Composites Can Make Parts Cheaper
7/31/2012

A metal part made with a complex internal structure demonstrates the University of Exeter's selective laser melting 3D production technology. (Source: University of Exeter)
A metal part made with a complex internal structure demonstrates the University
of Exeter's selective laser melting 3D production technology.
(Source: University of Exeter)

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Beth Stackpole
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Nice advancements around AM
Beth Stackpole   7/31/2012 8:15:05 AM
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Great example of pushing the envelope with additive manufacturing technology. Would this be a method for producing one-off parts or as a replacement technique for pumping out commercial parts on a production scale?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Nice advancements around AM
Ann R. Thryft   7/31/2012 12:41:28 PM
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Beth, so far it appears to be a one-off technique.

jmiller
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Re: Nice advancements around AM
jmiller   7/31/2012 8:57:55 PM
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It may be one off for the time being.  But anything that works will be repeated and improved to become the new way to do it.  It's exciting to see how the technology has grown in just this arena.

Bunter
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Re: Nice advancements around AM
Bunter   8/1/2012 9:26:55 AM
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Quite agree. This will get faster, cheaper and the build envelopes will grow.

The picture in the article gives the a nice illustration of the kind of formerly "impossible to manufacture" structures that can be created. Right now high demand applications like aerospace and auto racing, medical too, will push this forward.

From a design perspective the possibilities of combining this with FEA and/or CFD software is quite exciting.  Could greatly reduce the trade-offs in a design.

Dennis

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Nice advancements around AM
Ann R. Thryft   8/2/2012 12:02:14 PM
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The technique may also have applications in the field of powder metals: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=248266 These are used in several different component production processes, one of which is laser sintering, although not the 3D printing kind. The ability to alloy metals by blending them in powder form, instead of via melting at a later stage of the production process, saves a lot in waste, among other benefits. This could be yet another way of making those components.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Nice advancements around AM
Ann R. Thryft   8/1/2012 12:00:33 PM
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I agree, it seems likely that this could be applied to higher volume manufacturing when the process has been refined. Although to date, AM techniques have at most produced low-volume parts, there are efforts afoot to make them capable of higher production volumes.

notarboca
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Interesting
notarboca   7/31/2012 8:59:57 AM
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Really fascinating stuff!  I am quite sure that the laser method of "curing" the amalgamation of powders is perhaps the best at this time.  I look forward to reading the details in the metallurgical journal to learn more.

Rob Spiegel
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Can this be done in volume?
Rob Spiegel   7/31/2012 12:11:46 PM
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This is very interesting, Ann. Does this type of component building have a volume capacity? Or is this mostly for non-production uses such as prototypes?

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