Nov 20, 2018 | By Thomas

Machine tool and laser technology leader TRUMPF demonstrated its latest 3D printer, TruPrint 5000, and green laser technology at the international Formnext trade fair in Frankfurt.

3D printed components made of pure copper. Image credit: TRUMPF

TRUMPF's TruPrint 5000 can be preheated to 500 degrees Celsius to print high-carbon steel or titanium alloy components that don't crack or severely warp. By preheating the substrate plate, tool and mold makers can easily print forming tools, punches and dies which would have previously impossible.

"The laser beam melts the component surface, which subsequently cools back down to room temperature. The components weren't able to withstand this temperature drop, and cracks formed," says Tobias Baur, TRUMPF General Manager Additive Manufacturing with responsibility for technology. "The material quality and surface of carbon steels are significantly better than without preheating, preventing fractures in the components."

Preheating also offers major advantages for prostheses and implants produced using additive manufacturing. "When the ambient temperature drops too sharply, the parts warp and we have to rework them. In addition, we often require support structures that are difficult to set up and take down," says Baur. Preheating the TruPrint 5000 reduces stresses, improves processing quality and, in many cases, eliminates the need for support structures. It also often reduces the need for downstream heat treatment, as well as making the titanium more resilient and the implants more durable.

3D printing of copper with TruPrint 1000. Image credit: TRUMPF

TRUMPF also showcased a new green laser with pulse function, enabling pure copper and precious metals to be processed in a 3D printer for the first time. To achieve this, the developers connected the new TruDisk 1020 disk laser with the TruPrint 1000 3D printer.

"Conventional systems use an infrared laser as the beam source, but its wavelength is too long and it can't weld highly reflective materials such as copper and gold. This can be done with laser light in the green wavelength spectrum," says Thomas Fehn, TRUMPF General Manager Additive Manufacturing with responsibility for sales. According to Fehn, this will open up new possibilities for 3D printing, for example in the electronics and automotive industries. The green laser also holds great potential for gold printing in the jewelry industry, enabling individual unique pieces to be produced on demand while simultaneously saving expensive material.

3D printed components for medical technology. Image credit: TRUMPF



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