VELO3D Develops Process for 3D Printing Aluminum F357 on Sapphire Systems

RAPID

Share this Article

California-headquartered digital manufacturing company VELO3D, which recently raised $28 million in a Series D funding round, just announced that it has developed a process for 3D printing parts out of foundry-grade Aluminum F357 on its Sapphire metal 3D printers. The commercial release of this capability is significant, because the material is traditionally manufactured with casting technology, but now it can be 3D printed in intricate, complex shapes that casting just can’t achieve.

“Aluminum F357 has already been certified for mission-critical applications—unlike some exotic alloys—so it was a logical addition to our materials portfolio. We will continue to add more compatible materials that enable customers to print parts they couldn’t before, yet with even better material properties than traditional manufacturing,” explained VELO3D Founder and CEO Benny Buller.

This aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, which is well-suited for laser powder bed fusion 3D printing, lets companies in the aerospace, defense, and military sectors 3D print parts that used to be made through casting. Specific components that VELO3D specializes in 3D printing with Aluminum F357 are for thin-walled heat transfer applications.

These photos of 3D printed components demonstrate various perspectives of the design freedom that VELO3D’s SupportFree capabilities offer when it comes to heat exchangers.

VELO3D worked with global advanced cooling solutions supplier PWR to develop the Sapphire metal 3D printing process for Aluminum F357. This was a smart partnership, as PWR has provided cooling solutions to several racing series, including Formula 1 and NASCAR, and customers in the aerospace, automotive, and military industries.

Matthew Bryson, General Manager for PWR, said, “We chose Aluminum F357 due to its ideal material properties to suit thermal performance, machining and weldability.

“Our ability to print free-form and lightweight structures for heat transfer applications with our Sapphire system from VELO3D will further enhance performance and packaging optimization opportunities for our product range and provide significant value to our customers.”

VELO3D’s patented SupportFree capability for metal 3D printing means that support structures for steep overhangs, low angles, and complex passageways are not required, allowing users to attain geometric freedom. The Sapphire metal 3D printing system is built with a semiconductor mindset to ensure repeatability in serial manufacturing, and paired with a con-contact recoater, its print process is able to fabricate the high aspect ratios and extremely thin wall structures needed for flight-critical applications.

Notice the ultra-thin features in the core (cross-section image). Such complexity is near-impossible to attain with existing AM technologies.

While other aluminum alloys, like AlSi10Mg, are used in metal 3D printing more often, Aluminum F357 is ideal for thin-walled AM applications due to shared characteristics with popular casting alloy A356, and because it can be anodized. SmarTech Analysis reports that aluminum alloys accounted for close to 10% of 3D printed metal content last year, which led to a 43% growth in shipments of aluminum powder. The lightweight material is obviously growing in AM popularity, as VELO3D wasn’t the only company this week to roll out the material – Optomec just announced the use of its LENS DED systems for 3D printing aluminum parts.

VELO3D’s Sapphire metal 3D printer is now compatible with Aluminum F357, INCONEL alloy 718, and Titanium64. If you’re interested in a 3D printed aluminum alloy prototype, contact the company. Last month, VELO3D also announced that a 1-meter tall Sapphire system would be available in Q4 2020 for industrial customers, like Knust-Godwin, interested in using LPBF technology to print tall parts without supports.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: June 23, 2024

3D Printing News Briefs, June 22, 2024: Depowdering, Helicopter Cockpit, & More



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Bugatti Leverages Divergent to 3D Print Chassis and Suspension Parts for Tourbillon Hypercar

Divergent, the digitized contract manufacturer based in Los Angeles, has partnered with French luxury automaker Bugatti for the latter’s upcoming Tourbillon hypercar. Via the collaboration, Divergent will use the Divergent...

3D Systems Bets on Pellet-Extrusion as the Future of 3D Printing with EXT 800 Titan

US additive manufacturing (AM) industry pioneer 3D Systems has announced its latest product release, the EXT 800 Titan Pellet. The third member in the EXT Titan Pellet lineup, the 800...

Aibuild to Launch Version 2.0 3D Printing Software at RAPID + TCT 2024

Aibuild, the London-based software as a service (SaaS) company specializing in solutions for large format additive manufacturing (AM), will roll out Aibuild 2.0, the latest version of its cloud-based software...

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: June 16, 2024

In this week’s roundup, we’ve got plenty of in-person 3D printing events, including PowderMet2024, Manufacturing World Tokyo, and a few Demo Days and tours. Stratasys continues its advanced training courses,...