Meltio, a laser metal deposition technology manufacturer, presented two new innovations to increase the reliability of metal part manufacturing for creating accurate parts: the Meltio Horizon software and the Laser Calibration System.
Both technological solutions developed by Meltio’s engineering team represent a further step in the company’s strategy to eliminate the barriers that have prevented metal additive manufacturing from having a significant presence in many industrial sectors.
Meltio Horizon is proprietary toolpath generator software that ensures a fully tailored customer experience around its plug-and-play metal 3D printer, the Meltio M450, with its own unique features and custom-developed Meltio print and material profiles included. The software is tailored to use the laser wire metal deposition process with the Meltio M450. Up until now, Meltio users have been reliant on using 3rd party FFF slicers to prepare toolpaths for the Meltio M450.
In addition to traditional slicing parameters used in FFF software such as layer height, line width, print speed, and support materials, the software provides access to Meltio’s laser-wire process, and material-specific parameters such as laser power, dual wire, and hot wire settings.
With the software, all of the material-related settings are directly in the slicing software, allowing for full control and just a single profile. This also allows users to create more specialized printing profiles, with the power to directly control the laser and hot wire on a “per slicing feature” basis, rather than being set for the full part.
This slicer is currently only compatible with the Meltio M450 metal 3D printer. For Meltio Engines (CNC and Robot Integration), the company is currently working on developing its open software ecosystem partnerships that allow the generation of 5 Axis G-Codes.
Features of the Meltio Horizon:
– Easy to use: Only settings relevant to Meltio’s laser-wire metal 3D printing process are available. Specific settings are explained to make getting started with the printing process as smooth as possible
– Cost calculation: Easily configure your printing cost model and automatically calculate the cost per part in each project
– Future proof: Building a dedicated platform for toolpath generation specific to Meltio enables to expand the scope of our service in the future
– Tailor-made to laser-wire: Made to measure for Meltio’s wire-laser metal 3D printing process as well as it also comes with built-in profiles for the Meltio Materials
– Combined material profile: Previously split between printer and slicer – now all is in the slicer
– Custom gas profile: Configure your gas source and cost directly within Meltio Horizon. Flow rates are defined within each material
– Custom build plates / work spaces: Select the right substrate right from the slicer depending on the part size. Build plates can be defined by the user and stored as presets. The machine workspace adjusts automatically, notifying the user if a selected build plate is too small
– Automatic updates: Updates of the Meltio Horizon and new printing parameters are available directly through the slicer. New Meltio Materials and printing profiles will be released periodically
– 2D and 3D previews: To provide a good insight into the model to be printed, the Meltio Horizon provides both a 2D and a 3D preview of the toolpath. The 2D plan vision allows for easy inspection of the toolpath throughout the model
– Project files incorporated: The complete project file, consisting of the model file, workspace, build plate as well as gas and material profiles can be conveniently stored and shared.
Laser Calibration System
In addition, Meltio has launched a Laser Calibration System as an accessory (kit) to aid the reliability and ease of use of Meltio’s machines, ensuring a faster and more reliable print process to enhance user experience.
The Laser Calibration System allows Meltio users to calibrate Meltio’s multi-laser deposition head accurately and effortlessly on all three of its metal 3D printing solutions. The system consists of a laser alignment camera that has to be placed under the printhead as it allows for a clear view of the focus point of the lasers. The camera is controlled using a portable controller, which also comes included in the kit as well as a software specifically designed to filter the camera image and guide the user to focus each laser on the most optimal point.
The addition of this new kit is a major advance over the current state of general metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions. Manual laser alignment remains possible but will require a very experienced operator to match the consistency of the laser alignment kit.
Meltio’s multi-laser metal 3D printing technology is based on the use of six lasers pointing to a mutual point to melt the welding wire that is fed through the center of the deposition head. The lasers generate a high concentration of energy, called meltpool, that melts the metal feedstock. As a result, welds beads are stacked precisely on top of one another.
The alignment of each laser is critical so they hit the exact point where the energy is concentrated, the misalignment of the lasers leads to energy inefficiency and defects on the 3D printed parts. The camera makes the calibration process easy to follow.
Features of the Laser Calibration System:
– Accuracy: Calibrate Meltio’s multi-laser deposition head accurately and effortlessly
– Speed: Reduces calibration time by half
– Compatibility: Tailor-made software interface with portable tablet and its compatible with any Meltio system
– Packaging: Comes in a protective case that preserves maximum reliability of the accessory
– Ease of use: Simple to set up, and run. Also, the kit comes with all the necessary components you will need whether you are calibrating the Meltio M450 metal 3D printer or the Meltio Engine CNC or Robot Integration.
– Repeatability: It allows for the calibration of the lasers to be done in the exact same way every time, resulting in the same high-quality printjobs with every print.
– Traceability: The kit keeps a track of the calibration process, therefore, you can trace your steps back whenever it’s necessary.