The Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (Fraunhofer IWS) is experimenting with a new, high-powered metal 3D printing technology. Based on a technology called coherent beam combining (CBC), the institute’s dynamic beam shaping process can deliver varying levels of energy across a build area at once.
Fraunhofer IWS is now the first research facility globally to install a 13kW “Dynamic Beam Laser” from Israeli firm Civan Laser. The device is capable of delivering a variety of energy distribution patterns quickly by joining together multiple individual beams into a single ray of energy. Due to the phase shifts of the separate beams, it can create different patterns—such as a horseshoe, a figure eight, or a ring—with different energy intensities across the shape.
While such techniques are possible with mirrors and other optics, oscillating mirrors require time to align energy patterns. Civan’s laser, however, can achieve this feat in just microseconds, making it a thousand times more rapid than an oscillating mirror setup.
As a part of Europe’s ShapeAM project, Fraunhofer IWS will work with Civan Lasers and A. Kotliar Laser Welding Solutions to explore how the technology can be applied to 3D printing. This includes the production of titanium and aluminum items for space, medical implants, and lightweight parts for mobility. Dynamic beam shaping is believed to produce higher quality parts through the elimination of defects.
“This laser will push the limits of materials processing, for example in medical technology and aerospace,” said Dr Andreas Wetzig, head of the cutting and joining program at Fraunhofer IWS.
“We plan to use novel beam shapes and control frequencies that are not achievable with other methods to overcome challenges in crack-sensitive materials,” said Dr. Elena Lopez, head of additive manufacturing at Fraunhofer IWS.
The team will set about testing a variety of materials and beam profiles before exploring such applications as how to 3D print, cut, or combine workpieces made from difficult-to-work-with materials and composites. It is believed that the technology will offer faster and finer control over the melt pool to produce parts and cuts without burrs twice as fast as traditional fiber lasers.
You May Also Like
3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: January 16, 2022
We’re back in business this week with plenty of webinars and events, both virtual and in-person, starting with the second edition of the all-female-speaker TIPE 3D Printing conference. There are...
Women in 3D Printing’s Posts Agenda for TIPE Conference and Virtual Career Fair
This January 18-20, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) is back for the second time in a row with its TIPE 3D Printing Conference and Virtual Career Fair. Like its inaugural...
Women in 3D Printing Onboards New President
As the nonprofit celebrates seven years of supporting women in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) has taken on a new leader. Kristin Mulherin is taking...
3D Printing Trade Show Best Practices: Food and Food for Thought
This is the third installment of ideas, suggestions, and best practices for your 3D printing stand from an interested observer. We previously discussed booth location and how best to connect...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.