3D printing offers a unique solution for the creation of metal parts and structures. Unlike traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing can create complex shapes and geometries that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional methods. The process we have adopted is referred to as Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), in short, this process uses a welding gun to deposit welding beads to form structures. Working in unison with our ABB robot, we can print 1.5 x1.5 x 2m. This technology is well suited for the production of large, load-bearing structures such as bridge components or offshore platforms. 3D printed metal parts are also becoming increasingly popular in the aerospace industry due to their lightweight and high strength. In addition to its benefits in terms of design and manufacturing, 3D printing also provides a number of ecological advantages. By eliminating the need for traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing can help to reduce lead times and material wastage.

Looking back on our initial prints, it is clear to see how far our technology has developed in a short time. These designs were printed by replicating a 2d design layer on layer to build the structure. These were vital to our process as it has given us knowledge in what our deposition rates are and testing the speed of our robot system. This method was time-consuming and labour intensive, but it was a necessary step in developing our technology. We are now able to print complex 3d structures quickly and efficiently, thanks to the progress we made with these early designs.

After testing several different printing speeds, we have determined that 1.2kg per hour is the optimal rate for our system when printing in mild steel. With further testing and the implementation of new cooling systems, we believe that we can increase this rate to up to 10kg per hour. This will allow us to print larger parts in a shorter amount of time, without sacrificing quality. We are confident that this new printing speed will be a significant improvement over our current capabilities and are working with our partners to implement this technology.

Contact our team today at 3d@steelo.co.uk to see if your next project can benefit from the use of the 3D Printing of Steel