Additive Manufacturing

MAY 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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MAY 2018 Additive Manufacturing 16 TAKING SHAPE Printing Solid, Simple Metal Parts in Minutes By Peter Zelinski When I met Byron Kennedy for the first time last year at the Formnext show, he glanced around the exhibit hall floor and admitted, "We are not competing with 99 percent of the companies here." Other metal AM technologies such as powder-bed fusion make medical implants or aircraft fuel nozzles. By contrast, his technology makes brackets and other seemingly simple metal parts, but it makes them quickly and cheaply. Kennedy is co-founder and CEO of Spee3D, an Australian company that has developed "supersonic 3D deposition" into a process that builds metal parts. No heat is involved—that is, no melting—but instead metal powder is sprayed onto the build platform at speeds high enough that kinetic energy drives the metal bond. Instead of a laser, this process is powered by a standard shop air compressor. The technology is based on a hand-held mechanism long used by the U.S. military for manual repair. Figuring out how to automate deposition by translating CAD files into programmed movement for a seven-axis robot manipulating a flat build surface around a nozzle was the main challenge of developing the Spee3D machine. But the result is a method of building metal parts that is fast relative to other AM processes— 100 to 1,000 times the build rate of powder-bed machines, Kennedy says. The parts made this way look and function much like castings. Indeed, he sees casting as his chief competition. His system can produce a solid form six or eight inches in its longest dimension within a build time of 10 or 15 minutes. Thus he points out, "In the time it takes to ask for a quote on a casting, we can print one." No laser is involved. A shop air compressor powers the metal spray that drives the met- al powder fast enough to bond it to the part. BEGIN YOUR PROJECT TODAY 1-844-JGARANT SALES@JGARANTMC.COM

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