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Titanium 3D Printing

By i3d

3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Gives The Ability To Create The Nearly Impossible: With Limitations

Marc Saunders, Director – Global Solutions Centres at Renishaw, recently discussed how Additive Manufacturing (AM), a specifically 3D metal printing, can give us the ability to create components from designs that would be nearly impossible to produce conventionally.

As he points out, it’s not as simple though as having “unfettered freedom” to do whatever we want.  There are capabilities and limitations.

Mr. Saunders does a great job pointing out some key design considerations for laser melted metal parts. Here’s a few he points out:

  • Feature Size
  • Surface Finish
  • Overhangs
  • Lateral holes
  • Minimizing supports
  • Residual stress and distortion

Give the article a read in order to get the details on these key considerations.  As Marc point out,

“AM gives us huge freedom to design parts differently, but we do need to be aware of some of the characteristics and limitations of the process, so that we create parts that can be built successfully.

The DfAM rules described above are not too onerous in practice, and actually encourage us to consider ways to make parts that are lighter, faster to build, and more cost-effective.

Modern design and build preparation software helps enormously to find an optimum design, orientation and support strategy so that we can produce consistent parts economically. “

 

i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace

By i3d

3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!

Are companies successfully making 3D printed rocket parts?  As the 3D metal printing industry continues to mature using technologies like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for bridge manufacturing using metals such as Inconel and Titanium, there has been an uptick in the number of successful 3D printed rocket parts.

  Read more

By Erin Stone

Can 3D Metal Printed Rocket Parts Hold Up To Stress Tests?

As part of it’s AR1 booster engine project, Aeroject Rocketdyne put some 3D printed rocket parts under fire. The parts were subjected to a round of hot-fire tests in preparation for an AR1 engine production by 2019.  Can 3D Printed parts hold up to such strenuous and exhaustive testing?

A little background.  Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently developing the AR1 for full production.  The AR1 is a 500,000 lb thrust-class liquid oxygen/kerosene booster engine which is an American-made alternative to the likes of the Russian built RD-180.   Aerojet is preparing for the replacement of the RD-180 due to a new rule from the National Defense Authorization Act which was enacted in 2015 that calls for the replacement of the RD-180 for “national security space launches by 2019.”

Due to the function of a booster engine, these types of tests come at an important time for 3D metal printed parts.  The industry is experiencing significant growth in the use of Inconel and Titanium metal powder printing which has yielded incredible results in not only the aerospace industry but in the firearms and medical industries as well.

In order to bring the AR1 to market by 2019, testing has to begin now and it’s an incredible amount of heat and stress they are placing these 3D metal printed parts under. The motivation for these hot-fire tests was an evaluation of various main injector element designs and fabrication methods.

A few of the injectors were fabricated using Selective Laster Melting (SLM) and Aerojet has invested heavily into the use of SLM capabilities for rocket engine applications.

Aerojet Rocketdyne fully believes that the AR1 single-element hot-fire tests are the highest pressure hot-fire tests (over 2,000 psi) of a 3D metal printed part in rocket engine application.  Because of the success of these tests, Aerojet Rocketdyne says that 3D metal printing will account for a potential 70% reduction in cost for production of the main injector, and a possible nine-month reduction in part lead times.

So. Can 3D metal printed rocket parts hold up to extreme stress testing? Yes!  And this is just the beginning of an upward trend as 3D metal printing using Inconel, Titanium, and Maraging Steel see massive success in other large industries such as firearms and medical.  Stay tuned for your next 3D printed car….

By Erin Stone

3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero

3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero

Whats is the definition of “game changer” for metals manufacturing? Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), a 3D printing process that eliminates binding agents and uses 400-1000 W lasers to melt micro powders together, layer by layer until a 3D CAD model of a part is built, is one of the 3D manufacturing processes that are the the epitome of “game changer” according to Hod Lipson or Cornell University.   Read more

By Erin Stone

Just How Small Can DMLS Print?

Just How Small Can DMLS Print?

3D metal printing is in its element when it comes to production parts at micro scales. While machine development is focusing on creating DMLS paltforms that can print parts over 14″, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), current DMLS capabilities are perfect for small, complex parts. 3D printing enables i3D MFG™ to deliver integral tiny, complex parts in Aluminum, Titanium, Maraging Steel, Stainless Steel and Inconel to Aerospace, Prosthetics, Medical Devise, UAV/UAS, Rocket/Spacecraft, Oil & Gas, Firearms, and Recreational Gear industries. For the part shown, a .015″ (15 thousandths of an inch) high latticed geometry was grown in Maraging (tool) steel. Machining the tiny part out of such a tough metal was expensive and problematic. Since DMLS build parts from mirco powder layers, laser melted together one micro layer at a time, 3D printing precise micro geometries is not much more difficult than printing large bulky parts – in fact, the larger the mass on a DMLS machine, the greater the risk of delamination and failed builds.

DMLS Micro Parts in Production Quantities

Currently, DMLS can accurately and repeatably manufacture parts as small as .030″ in Aluminum and Inconel and .015″ in Stainless Steel, Maraging Steel and Titanium. Additionally, complex assemblies of small to medium-sized  parts can be printed as a single part, eliminating weld lines, gaskets and fasteners. With micro parts, this can be a huge savings in precision assembly labor. Combine that  with a cost effective means of manufacturing small, complex parts in ferrous and non-ferrous metals ranging from Aluminum that does not register on the HRC scale to Maraging Steel that can be heat treated to 54 HRC, and the design innovations are astounding. Exotic metals also become affordable because DMLS does not produce the 30-70% scrap that traditional machining operations might. Contact i3D™ to learn more about our DMLS, Wire EDM, 3D Scanning and Design-for-3D serv

Material Process Applications

By Erin Stone

Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?

Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?

The short answer is YES. The longer version is, that DMLS powder performance is highly dependent on the expertise of the machine operator and 3D engineering design. i3D™ Manufacturing specializes in DMLS powder performance and applications. As the EOS Material Process Applications (MPA) partner, i3D™ is proactive in using open parameter sets on its machines to achieve varying densities, analyze layer performance, and optimize part quality. Densities can range to nearly 100% allowing for post process of DMLS metal parts in all of the same ways machined and cast parts are treated.

 

Not all DMLS Powders are Created Equal

Uniform particle size and shape is the ultimate goal.  Making sure that your DMLS provider knows the atomization process and resulting powder quality of their materials is a critical question. Read about AMA’s process. Ask the provider how they sieve their powders between builds. It makes a big difference in the quality of the part. Also ask about the material change-over procedures and powder storage conditions. Keep in mind, junk in, junk out. Below is a list of stock metal powders i3D™ uses. We also work with custom DMLS powder creation and applications such as Monel K 500 and Ti 6-2-4-2.

Aluminum (AlSi12) – better flow through the machine and very little residual Si. Great for thermal properties and weight considerations. Equivalent to 6061 billet. Fastest building and most cost effective material.

Titanium (Ti64) – i3D™ mastered DMLS titanium and recommends it for weight reduction and strength considerations. No waste 3D printing makes Titanium a highly cost effective DMLS material.

Inconel 718 – Widely used for aerospace applications. Highest reflectivity with excellent strength and corrosion resistance. Medium build speed with properties much like steel.

Stainless Steel (15-5, 17-4 & 304) – Strong and great corrosion resistance. The one draw back is that steel has a slow build time and is often a less cost effective option.

Maraging (tool) Steel – Hardens to 58 HRC after heat treat. Excellent choice for mold tool and production tool needs.

i3DMFG 3D Printing For Aerospace

By Erin Stone

DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts

DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printing was featured first as an excellent rapid prototyping tool and then as a new manufacturing advancement in two 3D Printing Industry News items over the past two days. So which is it, prototyping or production parts? The fantastic news for designers, engineers, and production managers is that DMLS has been a phenomenal rapid prototyping tool for functional metal parts for years and now it is also a proven metal manufacturing method for complex parts ranging from turbines to heat exchangers.

DMLS Rapid Prototyping Saves Valuable Weeks of Development Time

As Scott Grunewald points out in his article, “This (DMLS) rapid prototyping allows newly developed components to be test installed, articulated and checked for clearance and movement tolerances. The final models can then be used to create the drawings and manufacturing guides that define construction materials, inspection requirements and post processing features. This portion of the process is so fast that the final part is just being completed by the time the approved drawing is released.” Innovations can be tested in working models, using titanium, inconel, tool steel, stainless steel or aluminum and then tweaked and retested in a matter of days. DMLS parts near 100% density, making them comparable or denser than machined or cast parts. 3D metal printing, like other 3D printing methods allows multiple 3D models to be built at the same time without contending with expensive CNC programming time. Aerospace giants like GE and Lockheed Martin have invested in hundreds of DMLS machine to take advantage of this competitive advantage.

DMLS is Now a Proven Manufacturing Method for Production Parts

While GE and other aerospace players have used 3D prototyping for years, they have also increasingly starting using DMLS for production runs. Sigma Components’s news  about its funding and partnership with Rolls Royce to utilize DMLS to manufacture complex functional parts for use in end products highlights the untapped potential 3D manufacturing brings to production. DMLS has progressed in its speed and reliability to the point of becoming a viable process for Sigma to “…redesign and develop lightweight pipe end fittings that use 3D printing and additive manufacturing to reduce the weight of traditionally manufactured components and minimise part and manufacturing costs.” However, to achieve its full potential, designers and engineers must shift their perspective to Design-for-3D, eliminating traditional manufacturing design constraints.

i3D MFG™ is focused on helping its customers realize these manufacturing advantages. With a full team of 3D engineers, as well as its designation as the EOS Material Process Application partner, we not only offer 3D manufacturing, but new DMLS powder development, parameter development, and of course, rapid prototyping.

By Erin Stone

Direct Metal Laser Sintering offers Optimal Medical Implant Synergy

Direct Metal Laser Sintering offers Optimal Medical Implant Synergy

Spinal implants manufactured using 3D metal printing, or Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), have been the standard OEM sample to highlight complex latticed geometries. The question being, have any of those cool looking implants been used in the real world? Great new for all DMLS users and manufacturers – 4WEB Medical announced this week that 3,000 of their DMLS spinal implants have been successfully used by surgeons. Even better, the relatively rough surface finish associated with 3D printed metal parts creates an even better patient outcome. According to 4WEB, ” The truss implant designs have a distinctive open architecture, which allows for up to 75% of the implant to be filled with graft material to maximize bone incorporation.The 4WEB Medical ALIF device has a bi-convex surface that brings the implant and graft material closer to adjacent bone across the entire end plate rather than just around the outside edge. This in addition to a unique implant surface texture dramatically improves initial fixation and reduces the chance of migration.”

As a DMLS manufacturer, i3D MFG™ works closely with its clients on surface finish requirements, a commonly misunderstood piece of 3D metal printing. 3D metal parts are nearly 100% dense, allowing for any post process associated with machined or cast parts; however, clients often expect parts to come straight off the DMLS machine with near mirror polish. The reality is that the initial surface finish for a DMLS part before post process ranges form 125-300 Ra depending on the metal. 4WEB’s spinal implant leaves the rough surface which enhances the effectiveness of the implant. This is a huge shift in how we think about design, incorporating roughness as an innovative tool. Not all applications will achieve this type of synergy between the raw DMLS part and function, but as we shift towards design-for-3D, it’s worth taking note of the match between DMLS and medical implant advancements.

Image from: 4webmedical.com

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i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace
3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!
DMLS Stands Out as 2015 Focal 3D Printing Technology
3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero
Just How Small Can DMLS Print?
Material Process Applications
Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?
i3DMFG 3D Printing For Aerospace
DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts
Direct Metal Laser Sintering offers Optimal Medical Implant Synergy