IMAGE: 3D printer for high-speed printing of titanium structures and in-situ synthesis of alloys More
Photo credit: Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
Researchers at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) designed and manufactured a unique 3D printer called “Prisma”. The 3D printer was manufactured and demonstrated for the first time on January 29, 2021. The main purpose of the developed printer is to print structures made of titanium, an expensive material, but due to its strength properties and low specific weight, it is indispensable for various industries. The pressure system is located in a chamber with an inert atmosphere. This printer can also be used to print steel, aluminum, magnesium and nickel alloy products. The researchers used the wire as a raw material to ensure the high productivity of the process. The layers are deposited in the 3D printer, in which the wire is melted by burning an electric arc. In a developed printer, two wires can be fed at the same time to increase productivity and to synthesize new alloy or gradient structures from two different wires.
In relation to the number of German and Spanish companies, the wire feed rates are limited to 6 m / min. The printer developed at Polytech University prints at a feed speed of 12 m / min.
“Our” Prism “printer has higher performance characteristics compared to the analogues. Due to the use of a chamber with an inert atmosphere, we can print any metal, even if it is very active like titanium. Also, the printing technology itself has been improved by the science group of SPbPU by developing a two-wire feed system and special shape of current and voltage waveforms used for burning arcs.
In fact, two different materials can be used in 3D printing. The use of two different wires helps to create innovative materials with gradient transitions in the structure or, for example, intermetallic compounds, which are currently rarely used due to the complexity of product manufacture. We can print a 4 kg titanium product within an hour. Our printer can be adapted to the needs of a particular company due to the use of a robotic arm, in particular to enlarge or, on the contrary, reduce its printing area, “notes Oleg Panchenko, head of the Laboratory of Light Materials and Structures SPbPU.
Scientists have already received several patents for the solutions used in the printer.
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