Titomic, is unveiling what they claim to be the largest titanium 3D printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at over 1.8 meters in diameter (almost six feet). Created at Titomic’s research and development facility in Melbourne, Australia, the UAV was printed on the TKF 9000, with their proprietary technology, Titomic Kinetic Fusion™ (TKF), using titanium as the material for a rugged vehicle prototype meant for future applications in the military or law enforcement.
The UAV, benefiting from all the advantages of 3D printing with metal, is both strong and lightweight and can be easily fortified for live combat situations offering both durability and protection for soldiers. Drones are a common type of unmanned vehicle, often directed by remote control or a computer which may be located on board.
Potential is expanding for UAVS rapidly, although their uses have been primarily military. With metal 3D printing, companies and organizations like the military can make armaments on demand, and quickly. With the use of titanium for this endeavor, Titomic is demonstrating how their new technology can integrate materials historically known to be challenging due to affordability issues and size limits.
“Besides a relatively high melting point, titanium’s corrosion resistance and strength-to-density ratio is the highest of any metallic element. Titanium is also 60% denser than aluminum and twice as strong,” states Titomic on their website.
This should be encouraging to other companies interested in taking advantage of this material, although they may have been previously restricted to the use of more fragile plastic or heavier metal. With TKF, titanium powder particles are sprayed at supersonic speed, fusing together and consequently, forming enormous 3D printed parts.
“We’re excited to be working with the global defense industry to combine Australian resources, manufacturing and innovation which will increase our sovereign capability to provide further modern technology for Australia and its defense force,” said Titomic Managing Director Jeff Lang.
TKF came onto the industrial market a couple of years ago, and in that time, Titomic has not only continued to expand commercialization, but they have also secured patents in both the US and Australia. Co-developed and licensed with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), this unique process is behind the manufacturing of metal parts, and also surface coatings like nickel, copper, scandium, and other alloys like stainless steel. Numerous metals and materials can be melded into singular, high-performance parts.
3D printing brings something to nearly every industry today, from furthering aerospace endeavors to helping fashion designers and creators around the world break artistic barriers. But when it comes to fabrication with metal, users—often larger industrial companies—are looking forward to power. And this is demonstrated in the additive manufacturing hardware, a vast array of metal powders offering strength, as well as new techniques allowing companies to produce strong yet lightweight parts that may not have been possible previously.
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