VELO3D a, a developer of metal additive manufacturing technologies, reported a commercial release for a process to produce AM parts in aluminum F357 alloy, using its Sapphire® metal 3- printing system.
Aluminum F357 is frequently specified for automotive and aerospace castings, and is identified with good weldability, high strength, corrosion resistance, and heat conductivity.
According to VELO3D, the foundry-grade alloy is suitable for the laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) process, meaning it's possible to 3Dprint some parts that customarily have been manufactured by casting. Also, aluminum F357 can be anodized and shares characteristics with A356, a widely used casting alloy.
“Aluminum F357 has already been certified for mission-critical applications—unlike some exotic alloys—so it was a logical addition to our materials portfolio,” stated Benny Buller, VELO3D founder and CEO. “We will continue to add more compatible materials that enable customers to print parts they couldn’t before, yet with even better material properties than traditional manufacturing.”
He added: “Our ability to print free-form and lightweight structures for heat transfer applications with our Sapphire system from VELO3D will further enhance performance and packaging optimization opportunities for our product range and provide significant value to our customers.”
VELO3D claims its metal additive manufacturing capabilities offer geometric freedom thanks to a patented SupportFree process, which does not require support structures "for complex passageways, steep overhangs, and low angles." The developer also offers a "non-contact recoater," such that the printing process can produce the ultra-thin wall structures and high aspect ratios that are necessary for various flight-critical applications.
The Sapphire metal AM printer by VELO3D is now compatible with Titanium64, INCONEL® alloy 718, and Aluminum F357.
Recently VELO3D announced that a 1-meter tall system will be available in Q4 2020, expanding the range for parts printed by laser powder-bed fusion without support structures, indicating various new possibilities for 3D-printed industrial parts.