AM Helping AM: 3D Printed Build Plate Detects Build Failures
Ultrasonic additive manufacturing produces a build plate with embedded sensing, allowing for real-time measurement of the condition of the build. If a failure occurs during selective laser melting, this plate will reveal it immediately.
The build plate is a basic component of any selective laser melting build: Metal components are 3D printed directly onto it (and usually must be cut off after the build)
We’ve seen examples of 3D printing being used to make components of 3D printers. This is a natural way for developers of additive technology to leverage their own platforms. However, Fabrisonic has an example that is different in an important respect: The company uses its additive process to aid an altogether different additive process. The company has applied its ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM)
The plate detects build failure. Fiber optic sensing contained within the plate allows the user to capture real-time data on stress, temperature and strain as a metal part is printed onto it via selective laser melting (SLM), a powder bed fusion process that uses a laser to melt thin layers of powder to build up the part.
Detecting a build failure does not save the part, but it can save hours upon hours of productive time.
Ultrasonic additive manufacturing was necessary to realize the smart plate; SLM, which operates at much higher temperatures to melt the metal,
The kind of monitoring the smart build plate provides aids in assuring the effectiveness of SLM as a production process. This plate therefore represents not just additive helping additive, but one AM process helping another AM process to realize its promise.
The Cool Parts Show devoted an episode to the smart build plate. Watch to learn more about ultrasonic AM and how the plate will get even smarter.
Guhring uses additive manufacturing to make an end mill with optimized internal channels. We visit a machine shop to test the tool on this episode of The Cool Parts Show.
The pneumatic gripper 3D-printed as a complete working unit has demonstrated its effectiveness for continuous operation over time. It is one illustration of the role additive is liable to play in making robotic automation easier.
3D printing and robots enable one another. We miss the possibilities of one if we do not consider the other. The combination includes AM for end effectors, robots for 3D printing parts, and different modes of metal and plastic production.