The Evolution of a Revolution | What's New

The Evolution of a Revolution

March 26, 2015 11:47:29 AM

Fundamentally, we’ve come to understand what additive manufacturing (AM) can do—and it’s a revolution. The ability to essentially build something from nothing has changed several industries forever.  In metalworking, we’ve reached the point where we are pushing the limits of the technology. Experimentation and demanding applications are fine tuning our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the process and the resulting parts.

An excellent article in this month’s Aerospace Manufacturing and Design explores the state of AM, how far it’s come and where it’s going. It offers some astounding facts and figures with regards to usage and expenditure, explores unique applications, and details some of the uncovered shortcomings and advantages.  

As the exclusive dealer of the LUMEX Avance-25 metal laser sintering hybrid milling machine, MC Machinery’s technical marketing manager, Greg Langenhorst, was sought out to offer his expertise to the discussion. He addressed one of the challenges common in AM: achieving finished surfaces in highly complex parts.

In most cases, realizing clean finishes in say the cooling channels of a mold requires the extra and challenging step of milling in these tight pockets. Greg describes in detail in the article how the hybrid process done by the LUMEX eliminates this concern.   

“Because you no longer have to design to your manufacturing capability, you can design for the optimization of whatever the part needs to be,” Greg explains in the article. “You can put cooling channels where you want, without worrying about twists and turns.”

Technically speaking, the 400W fiber-laser sinters at 5,000mm/sec, adding layers 50µm (0.002") thick. Once 10 layers are put down, a mill as small as 0.6mm (0.024") in diameter can finish the surface, eliminating ridge lines. Rib shapes as small as 0.02" can be finished in a core as it is being built.

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