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High-performance 3D printer for titanium structures and in-situ synthesis of alloys

Excessive-performance 3D printer for titanium constructions and in-situ synthesis of alloys

Researchers at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) developed 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 the developed printer, two wires can be fed in at the same time in order 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 than its analogues. By using a chamber with an inert atmosphere, we can print on any metal, even if it is very active like titanium, ”says Oleg Panchenko, head of the laboratory for light materials and structures SPbPU.

“Printing technology itself has also been improved by the SPbPU scientific group through the development of a two-wire feed system and the special shape of current and voltage waveforms used to burn 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, ”adds Oleg.

“This means that 4 kg of titanium product can be printed within an hour. Our printer can be adapted to the needs of a particular company due to the use of the robotic arm, in particular to enlarge or, on the contrary, reduce its printing area, ”Oleg notes.

Scientists have already received several patents for the solutions used in the printer.