At this past week’s RAPID + TCT conference in Texas, California-based Formalloy highlighted its metal 3D printing technology. Formalloy has only been around since the beginning of 2016, but in those 2.5 short years, the award-winning metal 3D printing company has made quite a name for itself.
Headquartered in San Diego, Formalloy designs, researches, develops, manufactures, and integrates additive manufacturing systems, services, and components. At RAPID 2016 the company showed its open powder A222 3D printer, which uses laser metal deposition (LMD) technology to achieve mixed-metal printing; the company’s patented LMD technology uses a coaxial nozzle to blow powder onto a substrate in layers, which are then melted with a laser.
Less than a year after Formalloy showcased the A222 at Inside 3D Printing San Diego, the innovative company released a new deposition head for metal 3D printing last summer that can be integrated onto an existing robot or machine and used to repair, clad, and 3D print metal parts. This deposition head set the company up as a full-suite LMD provider.
But the Formax metal deposition head was only the first new product in Formalloy’s series of summer 2017 releases, and just a few months later, the advanced manufacturing technology company introduced its newest LMD L-series machine model, featuring Blue Laser technology from NUBURU Inc. in Colorado. The L stands for lab, and this release made Formalloy the first company to combine both LMD and Blue laser technologies.
Formalloy has attracted a pretty big customer in NASA, as its LMD technology can decrease production and material costs and expand a product’s design envelope. NASA has been working with Formalloy on a series of R&D projects, and using its LMD technology for development and feasibility studies to investigate if 3D printing is scalable for large, high-value components, like a rocket nozzle demonstrator.
Melanie Lang, Formalloy’s Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, recently shared more with us about the company’s work with NASA and an aerospace case study regarding the 3D printed rocket nozzle demonstrator.
At the time, she explained that Formalloy had delivered multiple rocket nozzle demonstrator parts to NASA’s Marshall Flight Space Center, and that the company was looking forward to further projects with the space agency “by enabling gradient-material and difficult-to-process materials such as copper, for rocket nozzle design & builds.”
This brings us back to RAPID + TCT, and the company’s new closed-loop metal deposition system, the X-series. During the company’s press conference, Lang explained that the new X-series LMD system features a fully customizable build volume, with up to 5 axes of motion, and works with the widest, most comprehensive range of metal alloys on the market.
The X-series LMD system has majorly improved quality with variable-wavelength lasers, closed-loop control, and offering 95% more powder efficiency, thanks to the company’s Formax Metal Deposition Head, which comes standard with each system and makes maintenance and component switches easy with built-in, quick-release features.
Formfeed powder feeders on the X-series make it possible to 3D print with gradient/bi-metallic structures, and the system monitors build quality and accuracy in real-time with the company’s scanning technology. Then, the 3D printer uses an auto-correct function for errors, to ensure 3D printed parts with no defects.The company designs all of its own systems and components in order to make use of open standards for powder supply, so X-series users can provide their own metal 3D printing powders if they choose.
Formalloy implemented certain technology into the X-series, like closed loop control, in order to make the 3D printing process better. The system is scalable, so it’s possible to build full production parts with a much shorter lead time, and integrates both IR and blue wavelength lasers so customers have multiple options.
According to Lang, several high-profile customers are returning as news of the company’s high-quality metal 3D printing systems continues to spread. In addition, the new X-series LMD system starts at $200,000 – making it a cost-effective solution for producing, repairing, and cladding 3D printed metal parts for multiple applications and industries.
Stay tuned to 3DPrint.com for more of our coverage from RAPID + TCT.
To take a look at the new X-series LMD 3D printing in action at RAPID, check out 3DPrint.com’s video below.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[All photos: Sarah Saunders unless otherwise credited]
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