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From project description:
A 5 axis laser metal deposition manufacturing method is being developed by TWI for an EU-funded project which is demonstrating drastic time reduction in the manufacture of aero engine casings.
In LMD, a weld track is formed using metal powder as a filler material which is fed through a coaxial nozzle, to a melt pool created by a focused high-power laser beam.
By traversing both the nozzle and laser, a new material layer develops with precise accuracy and user-defined properties. The application of multi-layering techniques allows 3D structures to be created.
To find out more please visit the project website: http://www.merlin-project.eu/ or go to TWI's website:http://www.twi-global.com/news-events...
Here is a video of the process. It took seven and half hours to print this thin walled casing prototype for jet engine test beds.
Here is a list of LMD technical advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of LMD:
- Metallurgical bond (not mechanical, thermal spray)
- Wide variety of available powders
- Very low dilution is possible
- Relatively high deposition rates
- Process is highly repeatable
- Low impact on base material compared to similar processes (HAZ)
- Superior metallurgy compared to similar processes
- Virtually unlimited build height
- Very flexible tool path compared to wire applications
- High capital equipment costs
- Powder cost is typically higher than wire
- Capture ratio of additive material < 100% (based on process parameters)
- Cannot control the process manually – CNC is required
- Experienced, specialized staff required (e.g. laser safety engineer, skilled operators)
LMD laser toolhead schematics: