Metal Additive Manufacturing Titanium Materials Powder Metallurgy

Additive Manufacturing - Dr Mike Fry

Wire Arc AM(WAAM) = Printing Big

  • WAAM is a method of 3D printing large metal parts from low-cost wire (1 – 1000+kg, 1m+, up to 3+kg/Hr).
  • 1926 Baker patent “The use of an electric arc as a heat source to generate 3D objects depositing molten metal in superimposed layers”
  • Made practical with commercial robot/welder hardware + sophisticated software.
  • Multi material capability (Ti, Al, Steel, Ni, compatible combinations)
  • Most materials that can be wire-arc welded potential for WAAM.
  • Lower detail/accuracy than current 3D processes
  • Consider as near-net shape replacements for some castings in industries such as Oil/Gas/Construction/Marine etc.
  • Pioneered in UK (aerospace) – First commercial system Q2 2019.
  • TiDA install first commercial WAAM system in NZ Q3 2019.
  • Modern developments focussed on titanium/aluminium aerospace components – Early adopters: Airbus/BAE/Lockheed Martin etc
  • Motivation: Reduction of billet size, cost and material waste
  • Typical aerospace “Buy to Fly” ratios in conventional Al/Ti billet machined structures are between 10:1 and 50:1(!) 90% to 98% of material ends up as Swarf!

Ti landing gear structure

2.5m aluminium wing spar

  • Marine/Industrial applications – Viable 2016+ (2.5+ D…)
  • Motivation: Elimination of casting tooling, reduced material waste, multi material options, cladding, hybrid AM/wrought structures.
  • Print new parts or extensive repairs.
  • Demo part - pentagon to equilateral triangle transition.
  • 100mm side length, 102 tall, 7mm wall, mild steel.
  • 2kg ($6 for mild steel wire), 1Hr arc on-time + cooling.

Carbon steel cone

1.35m marine propeller

80 Tonne Crane Hook

  • Demo part - pentagon to equilateral triangle transition.
  • 100mm side length, 102 tall, 7mm wall, mild steel.
  • 2kg ($6 for mild steel wire), 1Hr arc on-time + cooling.

WAAM Process is highly flexible

  • Multi material capability (Ti, Steels, Al, Ni, others)
  • Combinations of weld compatible materials in 1 part
  • Wear/corrosion-resistance surfaces on low cost core
  • Hybrid AM
  • “Grow” AM features onto plate/wrought sections/castings etc.
  • Weld AM part into larger structures.
  • 3D scanning + CAD + WAAM to make more comprehensive “return to new geometry” repairs viable.

Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK 1781,
Cast Iron structure demonstration.
33m span over river Severn.
“Crossing into the industrial age…”

Amsterdam, March 2018,
MX3D demonstrate WAAM printed stainless steel bridge.
12.5m long, 6.3m wide structure.
6 months, 4 robots, 4500 kg, 1100km of welding wire.
“Crossing into a new industrial age…”