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Edison Honored in 3D Printed Titanium

3D printing, GE Additive, Edison, Titanium
GE Additive R&D technician, Oskar Zielinski, used an electron beam machine to create a statue of GE’s founder, Thomas Edison, using Titanium (Ti64).

Normal view of the Edison statue. (Image source: GE Additive)
Twisted view of the Edison statue showing the internal filigree of electron beam melting. (Image source: GE Additive)

GE Additive R&D tech Oskar Zielinski has created a 3D printed Titanium statue of GE's founder, Thomas Edison. Zielinski works at Arcam EBM—a GE Additive company in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he's responsible for the maintenance, modification, and repair of electron beam melting systems. He recently decided to put an Arcam Q20plus electron beam machine through its paces by creating a statue of Edison using Titanium (Ti64). The whole build took 90 hours and stands 1.25 feet tall.

Oskar Zielinski hold his Titanium Edison statue. (Image source: GE Additive)

Zielinski created 25 pieces and generated different net structures inside each layer to test the capabilities of the machine. All 4,300 of the 90-micron layers were printed in one go, with only a little support between the outer skins of the slices. The nets were all free floating without supports. The different net structures inside show the filigree work of electron beam melting.The Arcam EBM creates dimensionally accurate parts by utilizing a high-power electron beam with high melting capacity. The process takes place in a vacuum at a high temperature, resulting in stress-relieved components with material properties comparable to wrought material.

This time-lapse video shows the statue being printed layer by layer. The video was captured from inside the machine using an Arcam LayerQam that is normally used for defect detection in printed parts.

In a statement, Zielinski noted, “I am really happy with the result; this final piece is huge. I keep wondering, though, what Thomas Edison would have thought if someone would have told him during the 19th century about the technology that exists today.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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