Overview

This category deals with joining or fusing layers of metal together.

Metal consolidation is the biggest challenge that faces the Metalbot project. There are many different ways to fuse layers of metal together and each process has its own pros and conns. As a result, we have many design choices to make.

Important Goals include gaining more data on 'laser sintering' and melting of metals. Commercial enterprises are very tight lipped when it comes to their production processes, this means that we need to start from the ground up. Data is good. More data means better design choices so please share you findings on the forums.

General guidelines for designing the metal consolidation system are as follows:

  • Accessible: The components required to consolidate the metals must not be too exotic or difficult to acquire.
  • Affordable: The bill of materials must not blow our target budget.
  • Safe: For mass adoption the printers have to be safe for use by the majority of people. please look at our safety page before getting involved with metal consolidation development.
  • Modular: The system should be easy to maintain or replace worn parts.

Please note: This project is in the very early stages. As the community grows and knowledge increases then our goals and issues will become more specific.

To discuss the subject in-depth with the community please head over to the Metal Consolidation forum.

Consolidation Methods

There many different ways to fuse layers of metal together and each process has its own pros and cons. The consolidation method we have chosen to move the project forward is "laser sintering" or laser melting. Another option that is up for consideration is arc welding, where a hot electric arc is used to melt/fuse wire in an additive way to produce finished parts

Lasers >>

 Pros Cons
Fast when used with a laser scanner Expensive
High accuracy and resolution Dangerous
 Ability use powders to print overhangs Difficult to find
   

 

Arc Welding

 Pros  Cons
 Affordable  Printed parts require milling

Issues

These issues are endemic to any process that repeatedly heats and cools a material. In order for high quality parts to be printed these challenges need to be mitigated.

  • Warping of the Printed Parts due to Shrinkage during Cooling
  • Removing Powder From Enclosed Spaces
  • Powdery Surface Textures of the Finished Part
  • Preventing Powder from Clogging the Moving Parts

Sourcing Parts and Equipment

If you have found a place to source parts and equipment please add it to the Metal Consolidation parts and Equipment MEGA info Index here: viewtopic$%

This will greatly help us toward eventually compiling a bill of materials.

There many different ways to fuse layers of metal together and each process has its own pros and cons. The consolidation method we have chosen to move the project forward is "laser sintering" or laser melting. Another option that is up for consideration is arc welding, where a hot electric arc is used to melt/fuse wire in an additive way to produce finished parts

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