XXL-sized 3D components are currently a trend. While a few Chinese company are competing to build the largest 3D printer (28m x 23m x 9.5m) in the world, German company Concept Laser, a pioneer in the field of laser fusing technology, reports that it has printed the largest component, a gear part, on its X line 1000R system, with the dimensions of 474 x 367 x 480 mm.
A gear housing made of aluminum (dimensions: x: 474mm; y: 367mm; z: 480m – excluding build platform height) is constructed from powder at rates of > 50cm³/h
The X line 1000R system, which was developed jointly with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) in Aachen, features a large build envelope (630 x 400 x 500mm). The key component in the X line 1000R are optics developed by ILT with a 1 kW laser, a significant jump from the 400 W class in terms of the component sizes and construction rates, says Concept Laser.
From a cost perspective, while an average system achieves build rates of 10-15 cm³/h, the X line 1000R delivers up to 65 cm³/h (equivalent to a 650% increase). It enables significant productivity increases compared to other commercially available laser melting systems.
In terms of materials, the system produces primarily aluminum components for lightweight construction for automotive industry, and high-performance materials, such as titanium for aerospace applications. With its patent LaserCUSING process, it is now possible to construct lightweight structures with high rigidity and weight-optimized geometries.
The 3D printer prototype was first introduced at Euromold 2012. Afterwards the company concentrated more on improving the actual construction process, material qualification and temperature control of the build envelope.
Dr. Florian Bechmann
Dr. Florian Bechmann, Head of Development at Concept Laser said: "The agenda for the beta phase included optimization of process parameters and intensive material qualification in order to prepare the X line 1000R for serial production."
"When hybrid construction methods are used, geometries can be created that are somewhat above the 'basic' construction area dimensions, if necessary, with heights up to 540 mm," said Dr. Bechmann.
Titanium and nickel-based alloys are attractive for the extreme requirements of the aerospace sector. New applications are currently also being devised by development engineers, including test beds in space flight and turbine parts in power plant engineering and aircraft construction. Another interesting application is that LaserCUSING can also be used to repair turbines: a worn-out turbine blade can be mended using laser melting. This means the material of the turbine part, which is still good, can begin a new lifecycle – quickly and affordably.
Posted in 3D Printer
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