Related Resources: 3D Additive Printing Manufacturing
3D Printing Manufacturing of Aerospace Alloys
Additive 3D Printing Manufacturing of Aerospace Alloys for Aircraft Structures
This resource requires a Premium Membership
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a form of direct manufacturing, which evolved from rapid prototyping technology in the 1990’s. While the goal of rapid prototyping is to build non-functional or semi-functional prototypes directly from 3-D computer models, the goal of direct manufacturing is to build fully functional components directly from 3-D computer models. Hence, rapid prototyping methods such as stereo lithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), and fused deposition modelling (FDM) developed into various freeform fabrication technologies for direct manufacturing.
In AM, parts are produced by selectively adding detailed features to a functional substrate using a computer-controlled, layer-by-layer material deposition technique. The result is a near-net-shape preform which typically requires additional processing (e.g., heat treatment, sintering, machining, surface finishing, etc.) to obtain a finished part. The goal of AM is to reduce raw material usage, lead time for part production, and/or manufacturing cost while maintaining or improving the performance of the end item. AM is applicable to various material systems, but is of particular interest for the production and repair of high-cost, long-lead metallic aerospace components. A description of AM of metallic materials in general is presented in the following section, followed by a detailed review of the Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAMSM) process and an overview of LAM R&D activities conducted and/or managed by the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/ML).