Development of Freeform Fabrication of Metals by Three Diminsional Micro-Welding
A newly developed freeform fabrication process named 3D Micro-Welding, which is a combined system of a micro-TIG welding and a layered manufacturing method, is demonstrated. Various refractory alloys such as Inconel, stainless steel, and Invar can be freeformed besides elemental metals like titanium. Small metal beads of ~1mm in diameter are formed by emitting micro arc to the top of a thin metal wire of 0.2mm diameter. A fused bead is welded to a metal substrate or previously formed beads. By continuing this process and building up beads layer by layer under the control of CAD/CAM system, 3D objects were produced. In this study, optimization of micro-welding parameters such as the waveform of pulsed arc current and electrode materials were investigated and simple 3D objects of Inconel 600, SUS 304, Invar 42 were formed. The interfaces between adjacent beads were joined well and no crack or pore existed in the formed objects. The density and Vickers hardness of Inconel 600 objects showed comparable values to the commercial Inconel alloy, however the yield strength and Young’s modulus was about 80% and 70% of that alloy, respectively.
T. Horii et al., "Development of Freeform Fabrication of Metals by Three Diminsional Micro-Welding", Solid State Phenomena, Vol. 127, pp. 189-194, 2007