Feb 29, 2016 | By Alec

While metal 3D printing is progressing at a very high pace, its development is obviously limited by very different obstacles than plastic 3D printing. Cleaning and sanding metal parts, for instance, obviously requires very different equipment. Fortunately, British industrial and medical gas supplier BOC launched a new gas earlier this month called Cryoclean® Snow+, which is perfect for removing oxides and other unwanted particles (such as unfused powder) from 3D printed metal components.

If you happen to work in the metal 3D printing or metal industries, you might have run into BOC before. Part of The Linde Group, BOC is a gas supplier with a very strong presence in the UK and Ireland, but also have offices all over the world. They are also closely associated with metal 3D printing and metal powder production in various ways, are members of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Ansty, Coventry and are involved in various metallurgy and 3D printing development projects. They are also part of the ACCLAIM project, which seeks to address bottleneck issues affecting the 3D printing sector. They also provide gas to a number of companies throughout the 3D printing industry, which are used for a variety of 3D printing processes, including Electron beam melting (EBM), Laser metal fusion (LMF), Laser metal deposition (LMD), Arc and plasma welding and Selective laser sintering (SLS).

However, their latest innovation is focused on cleaning 3D printed components. Called Cryoclean® Snow+, it enables a completely dry cleaning process. “CRYOCLEAN® Snow cleaning from BOC is an innovative cleaning technology, designed specifically for cleaning component surfaces. The process is faster, more cost effective, more environmentally friendly and produces the same quality results compared to existing power wash and sand blasting cleaning processes,” its developers say. While suitable for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, pharmaceutical and metal production, it is also perfect for processing 3D printed parts. “it can be used to remove oxides from the surfaces of a number of materials including steels and aluminum along with the removal of un-fused metal powders,” they say.

How does it work? Well, Liquid CO2 is pressurized to 60 bar, which creates tiny dry ice crystals – or snow. That snow is blasted onto a 3D printed component using compressed air. This turns contaminants and other particles brittle, and lifts them off the surface. “The dry ice particles for the cleaning process are directly produced on immediate demand. By feeding liquid CO2 into a specially designed snow chamber, extremely solid dry ice particles are created and shot onto the component surface using compressed air. CRYOCLEAN® can be utilized as either a manual or automated solution,” they say.

Importantly, the ratio of CO2 and abrasive material can be adapted to suit the particular surface conditions – making it perfect for cleaning a variety of surfaces. BOC says it can easily be adapted to remove unfused powders, surface oxides, flash from machined parts, contaminants from holes and even clean the whole 3D printed part. “This innovative new technology delivers the same standard of cleaning faster and more efficiently than traditional wet cleaning. It is also more environmentally friendly and requires a smaller footprint,” said Market Sector Manager for Advanced Manufacturing Stuart Wilders.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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Jesse Thompson wrote at 3/1/2016 7:37:49 PM:

Hello, have you tried to clean 3D printed products in a plasma cleaner? It seems to me that a standard etchback process would quickly and safely clean any oxides and particles. I don't see how a 3D part would differ from the holes drilled in PCB boards. The plasma will permeate the inside of an object, even a complicated object like the cube you have pictured above. Anyhow, if you could provide any insight, I am looking for a way to clean my plastic 3D printed parts, and I would like to know if I could change gasses and use the same plasma etcher to clean metal. Thanks, Jesse

Sergey Mironets wrote at 2/29/2016 7:20:51 PM:

Hello, Have you experimented on internal passages with complex configuration? Thank you Sergey Mironets 860 248-5589

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