[FoRK] Biggest 3D Manufacturing Machine Builds Jet Fighter Wing Boxes

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Sun Mar 3 18:57:49 PST 2013


Impressive - really low resolution, but why not go low resolution, and a
few machining passes where parts need to be matched.

What's missing is support layers of some kind. I suppose one could imagine
some kind of fused ceramic filler for support layers. Remove or destroy the
support layers using some kind of sonic or ultrasonic process.


On Sun, Mar 3, 2013 at 10:48 PM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> Looks a little rough, but the finished metal looks full-strength and the
> remaining machining doesn't have to remove much metal, greatly extending
> heads.
>
> http://www.designnews.com/**author.asp?section_id=1392&**doc_id=258652<http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=258652>
> Video: Biggest 3D Manufacturing Machine Builds Jet Fighter Wing Boxes
> Ann R. Thryft
>
> Ann R. Thryft, Senior Technical Editor, Materials & Assembly
> 2/12/2013
>
> What may be the biggest build volume in additive manufacturing, at least
> for metal parts, is being done by Sciaky Inc. using a technology that
> combines an electron beam welding gun with wirefeed additive layering. This
> direct manufacturing method can make parts as large as 19 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft.
>
> The term "direct manufacturing" is often used to indicate an additive
> manufacturing process that makes net or near-net production-worthy parts,
> not prototypes. It's being used for several aerospace applications, in
> particular making metal parts for aircraft. For example, we've told you
> about the partnership between Airbus and South African aerostructure
> manufacturer Aerosud to develop 3D printing methods for large aircraft
> parts made of titanium. That technology is a form of selective laser
> sintering (SLS) called laser additive manufacturing (LAM) that forms large,
> complex structures from titanium powders. The two companies did not
> disclose the build volume of the machine they are developing.
>
> A large, finished titanium structure built for an aircraft application
> using Sciaky's direct manufacturing technology that combines an electron
> beam welding gun with wirefeed additive layering. This method can make
> parts as large as 19 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft. (Source: Sciaky Inc.)
> A large, finished titanium structure built for an aircraft application
> using Sciaky's direct manufacturing technology that combines an electron
> beam welding gun with wirefeed additive layering. This method can make
> parts as large as 19 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft.
> (Source: Sciaky Inc.)
>
> Sciaky's direct manufacturing method has a faster deposition rate than the
> very fine layer deposition of powder metal beds, which are commonly used in
> SLS. In Sciaky's process, a fully articulated, movable electron beam
> wirefeed welding gun deposits metal layers on a substrate plate, Kenn
> Lachenberg, the company's applications engineering manager, told us. Metals
> include titanium, tantalum, inconel, and stainless steel. The machine can
> deposit anywhere from 7 lb to 20 lb per hour, depending on the object's
> shape and material. The process does require a small amount of
> post-processing finished machining (watch a video of the process below).
> Lachenberg said:
>
>     We've incorporated an electron beam, similar to the one we've used for
> conventional electron beam welding, with wire or feedstock placement to add
> material, a process that's also available with conventional electron beam
> welding. In additive manufacturing, since you're layering metals you have
> long campaign times and runs, heavy vapor loads, and a higher heat
> environment. So we rebuilt the electron beam welding machine to handle
> those issues and give it features that are more feasible for additive
> manufacturing, such as a closed-loop control system and a faster traveling
> speed.
>
> We've reported on a somewhat similar process that NASA developed for
> making parts as needed on the International Space Station. Called electron
> beam freeform fabrication (EBF3), it has a much smaller build volume. The
> system uses an electron beam gun and a dual-wire feed. On the ground, it's
> created parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's vertical tails.
>
> The build volumes of SLS and powder metal techniques are limited by the
> size of the bed to smaller parts. Even laser sintering systems or other
> electron beam systems may only create a net part of 1 cubic foot,
> Lachenberg told us. Because Sciaky's automated gun travels throughout most
> of the length and width of the chamber, the area where it can deposit
> material is much less limited.
>
> There's also no real limit on the size of the machine: the current one is
> 25 ft x 5 ft x 5 ft, built to fabricate the wing box of an F-14 fighter
> jet. A typical build rate with titanium is about 15 lb per hour. "We could
> increase travel speed and wire speed to provide a greater deposition rate,
> but a lot of work has been qualified at that parameter set," said
> Lachenberg. The company is considering increasing both of those speeds, as
> well as increasing wire diameter, to speed deposition. Sciaky has worked on
> the development of the process since the late 1990s, when it did
> feasibility studies with Lockheed Martin. The company is also working on
> R&D direct manufacturing projects with the US Air Force and the Department
> of Defense.
>
> Sciaky's machine and process were displayed recently at the Pennsylvania
> State University Technology Showcase on Additive Manufacturing. The event
> was sponsored by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
> (NAMII), launched last August, as well as by DARPA's Open Manufacturing
> Program, and the Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct
> Digital Deposition.
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