Direct Metal Additive Manufacturing
One of our most productive direct metal technologies is the EOSINT M 280 from EOS which provides us with “the perfect solution for direct, cost-efficient manufacturing of high-quality metal tool inserts, prototypes and end products.” The M280 utilizes direct metal laser sintering technology, allowing the production of complex geometries such as free-form surfaces, deep slots and coolant ducts.
We’ve been the leader in the use of EBM technology from Arcam AB, including the very first Arcam S12 Machine, followed by an Arcam A2. We have pioneered the use of titanium (Ti-6AI-4V), and have done groundbreaking work with many other materials. We updated our Arcam capabilities with a new Q10 in April, 2016. With this new capacity and capability, we’ll be modifying our existing Arcam equipment to better enable us to experiment with new materials and data collection techniques.
All of our direct metal processing activities take place in our ITAR Compliant lab space, including any necessary cleaning/finishing operations.
We have an X1-Lab from ExOne, enabling us to work with some unusual additive materials. From their site: “The X1-Lab is a breakthrough in additive manufacturing equipment. Designed especially for research and educational customers, the X1-Lab is an excellent tool for developing powdered metal and glass materials and processes, as well as training the next generation of manufacturing engineers and powdered metal scientists.”
Polymer Additive Manufacturing
Our highest level polymer based additive technology is our Connex 350 from Stratasys. From their site: “With its 350 × 350 × 200 mm (13.8 × 13.8 × 7.9 in.) build tray, the Objet Connex350 gives you the power to prototype complex, assembled products… it offers outstanding 16-micron, high-resolution layers for printing complex geometries, smooth surfaces and thin walls.”
One of our first polymer based additive technologies was our Dimension machine, also from Stratasys. Their website describes the FDM technology used in the Dimension machines very well: “3D printers that run on FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer by heating thermoplastic material to a semi-liquid state and extruding it according to computer-controlled paths.” We now have two Dimension machines, and just added 4 uPrint SE Plus machines to our stable of FDM printing horses.
All of these machines provide us with excellent resources for training our Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering students in the basics of additive manufacturing in an affordable way.