Aviation / Aerospace 3D Printing
Applications with demanding functional, performance and precision requirements are poised to quickly move to metal additive manufacturing 3D printing. VELO3D Sapphire™ was designed to address the most advanced challenges providing a broad design space, with little or no post processing and superior quality.
Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace
The aerospace industry continues to expand the footprint of new applications for additive manufacturing, that goes beyond prototyping. Driven by the metrics of fuel consumption, elevated operating temperatures, material use and recycling strategy, engineers aim to push the limits of manufacturing technologies and look to metal additive as a key enabler to address the new capability and time to market requirements.
VELO3D shatters the limits of existing metal additive systems by enabling the fabrication of complex engine parts that include gas or fluids, empowering advanced designs with little or no post-processing.
In traditional manufacturing, inducers and impellers are milled out of solid blocks of Inconel, which is extremely difficult to machine. It takes expensive machining time and waste to both material and tooling.
Additive manufacturing has the potential to improve this process and enable faster and more cost-effective impeller production. Conventional AM systems rely heavily on supporting the bottom surfaces of the Blades to successfully complete the build. Once Completed, those supports must be removed, which entails lengthly and expensive post-processing. Final machining of the entire part is necessary to meet design specifications.
Velo3D delivers a groundbreaking fabrication method for production-grade inducers which eliminates the need to support the underside of the blades. While these surfaces might need some touch-up, the reduction in post-processing can make inducers produced with Velo3D’s solution orders of magnitude faster, cheaper and easier to make.
Shrouded impellers often require a multi-step process when produced with traditional manufacturing methods.
A common method is to machine the impeller from a billet of material on a 5-axis mill, and e-beam weld on the shroud, another fully-machined part. This process is expensive and low yielding.
Conventional additive manufacturing systems typically require supports on surfaces below 45 degrees. Removing internal supports is often impossible due to limited access. It has limited the use of traditional AM solutions in this application.
The Velo3D system excels at making this part, overcoming the challenges of other AM solutions. The only support required in most cases is a radial extrusion that supports the outer lip, and that can be removed in a single turning operation. The Velo3D Sapphire solution doesn’t require internal supports and the post processing is minimal.
Diamond Heat Exchanger
With conventional additive manufacturing systems, designs like this heat exchanger are prone to warping and deformation created by the material stresses during the build process.
Current AM systems have challenges with curved, thin wall components, and this geometry is particularly challenging. Without deformation corrections, the challenges remain even if the angles of the curved surfaces are above 45°. This part would usually fail due to thermal stresses and deformations of the complex curves, as well as the unsupported internal areas.
Velo3D’s Intelligent Fusion™ corrects deformation issues and allows true print-to-design.
The diamonds of this heat exchanger have 25° overhangs, which is not a challenge for Velo3D. Velo3D systems can print this part with high dimensional accuracy, and without supports, saving time and cost.
Traditional manufacturing methods to manufacture stator rings can be slow and expensive. Whether the chosen conventional manufacturing process is investment casting, electro-chemical machining, or 5-axis CNC and e-beam welding, the resulting parts are very expensive, with low yield and limitations on functionality.
Stator rings can benefit from the power of additive manufacturing, with dramatically simplified workflow that reduces time, effort and cost.
There are still significant limitations associated with conventional AM solutions, as the lower surfaces of the blades require supports where the angle is below 45 degrees. This consequently requires laborious post-processing, and performance may be compromised due to geometric restrictions.
Velo3D delivers a groundbreaking fabrication method of production-grade stator rings –without the need for supports. Velo3D’s Sapphire system can build the bottom surface of each blade support-free and leave the volume between blades clear. Only the hubs and the blade leading edges need supports.
This leads to a significant simplification of the total workflow: post-processing of the rings is minimal, yield is dramatically increased, and time and cost are greatly reduced.
Light-weighting is an important aspect for multiple industries. Lattice structures provide high strength-to-weight ratios and bring enormous benefits to buy-to-fly ratio, cost of used material, cost reduction and sustainability.
Light structures like these are nearly impossible to cast and are uniquely enabled by additive manufacturing.
Conventional AM systems have limitations with printing lattice angles and aspect ratios of the beams. Most of these systems cannot assure mechanical consistency, which has a dramatic effect on design allowable guard banding. There are also significant yield concerns due to recoater and part interactions, potentially leading to part and system damage.
Velo3D excels at building lattice structures. Our Flow software accepts native lattice file formats, and many lattices can be built free-floating in the powder bed, leveraging the full build volume for production quality volume builds. The zero-contact recoater avoids system damage, enabling high aspect ratio and low angle struts, while the closed-loop melt pool control assures consistency. As a result, development time for light-weighted designs is significantly reduced.
Radial Flow Heat Exchanger
Heat exchangers have challenging geometries that require very thin walls and complex fluid passages for efficient heat transfer with low pressure drop along the flow paths.
In traditional manufacturing, these are often made by brazing together pieces of sheet metal. The geometries that can be achieved are limited, and the yield of the brazing process is low, contributing significantly to part cost.
Additive manufacturing has many benefits for heat exchanger manufacturing, as the geometries can be considerably more complicated. However, current AM systems are having challenges with thin, high aspect-ratio walls, particularly when parallel to the recoater. Next-generation heat exchangers, for example some made with periodic surfaces have very challenging support requirements often making them not manufacturable.
Velo3D delivers a solution for printing heat exchangers, even for challenging geometries such as this radial heat exchanger. The geometry guarantees that some walls will be parallel to our zero-contact recoater which allows for successful printing even at very high wall aspect ratios.
Velo3D enables the cost-effective manufacturing of today’s advanced thermal management solutions.