An innovative and new additive manufacturing approach was shown at the recent RAPID + TCT show in Ft. Worth, TX. This new additive manufacturing technology uses supersonic deposition. Material is shot through a jet engine nozzle at speeds to Mach 3, and deposited in geometric patterns layer by layer. SPEE3D introduced this technology, referred to it as Supersonic 3D Deposition (SP3D). No heat is used to “melt” the metal powders. And parts can safely be handled immediately after the build.
The sheer kinetic energy of the particles causes the powders to bind together to form a high density part with normal metallurgical properties.
The build plate is fastened onto the end of a six-axis robot arm. The robot moves the plate as needed to build the specific geometries commanded by the STL CAD file. The result is fast, low-cost, near net shape parts suitable for commercial and industrial applications. At the show, the company was displaying this copper part that it said was built in 11 minutes at a cost of $6.85.
The technology suits the production of parts you could otherwise build using sand or die casting. Applications include automotive, mining, commercial, HVAC and industrial parts.
The machine does not need to use inert gases as the process works with normal compressed air.
The materials currently qualified are aluminum and copper.
Post processing consists of finish machining.
Maximum part build size is 300 x 300 x 300 3mm (11.81 x 11.81 x 11.81 in.). The maximum weight of a part is 3000 g (about 6.6 lb). The deposition rate is up to 100 g/min. The deposition spot size is 4 to 7 mm.