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Additive manufacturing is a revolutionary approach to creating complex parts.

Compared to traditional subtractive machining methods, additive manufacturing has the potential to lower lead times while greatly reducing waste products. Furthermore, greater part flexibility is possible in terms of geometry and multi-material components.

There are various techniques of additive manufacturing available commercially which cater to different applications. At Lincoln Laser Solutions, we specialize in Direct Energy Deposition. A finely tuned laser creates a melt pool on a substrate while alloy powder is injected coaxially. Closed-loop melt pool monitoring maintain optimum parameters for the desired mechanical properties. The results are near-net shape parts that require little or no post-machining.

Applications for Direct Energy Deposition

  • Rapid prototyping of new parts
  • Repairs and engineering changes
  • Multi-material components
  • Adding functional coatings and surfaces
  • Creating complex geometries

Case Study: Conformal Cooling

Conformal cooling channels allow the fastest heat dissipation across a given surface.  This is particularly important for plastic injection molding where a higher cooling rate affords greater cycle time.  The challenge in creating the complex geometries to conform to a variety of surfaces excludes conventional machining as an answer.  Brazing and welding are imperfect solutions.   Meanwhile, our in-house DED process can build 100% dense overhangs without support structures giving it a distinct advantage.  Our engineering team has successfully created a number of helical cooling channels.  We continue our work on complex surfaces with varying channel profiles.

Case Study: Bumper Brackets

3D printing

Additive Manufacturing is ideal for rapid prototyping.  When a low volume of new parts is required for prototyping purposes it is not always feasible to endure the time and costs of re-tooling an existing operation.  Through DED, we were able to create custom 16″-tall thin walled brackets.  The unique thing here is the neat near-shape, dross-free parts that required minimal post-machining, delivered in a timely manner.

Case Study: Cutting Tool Enhancement

Cutting blades used in high-volume, high-intensity recycling plants require a hard-facing material to extend their lifetime.  Traditional applications are manually added via TIG welding where deposition is dependent on the operator’s skill.  Given tight post-machining requirements and the hardness of the hard-facing material, any excess material adds significant costs.  Through our five-axis DED capabilities, we were able to offer a 70 HRC hard-facing material with an even distribution of 0.030″ over finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the smallest/largest part that can be repaired / additive manufactured?

Any feature larger than 5 mm x 5 mm, roughly the area of a pea, can be built up in slices as thin as 1 mm.  Individual bead size is determined by a continuously variable beam delivery system, ranging from 1 mm to 4 mm.  Our dedicated additive cells range from standard CNC machines to large custom robotic cells, virtually eliminating upper size restrictions.

What are the types of additive manufacturing?  How do I choose?

Currently, the two main types of additive manufacturing are direct energy deposition (blown powder deposition), and selective laser sintering/melting (powder bed).  While SLS/SLM can create parts that do not require post-machining, the finish is limited by the size of the melted particles.  For parts that require a machined finish, DED is capable of producing larger, denser parts with better structural integrity.  To find out if DED is an appropriate choice, contact us below.

What if I don’t have a design or require design changes?

Our engineering team assesses any provided parts, drawings, or CAD, and works with our customers on any design considerations.  To find out more about the design-to-part process using additive manufacturing, do not hesitate to contact us.

Will the additive manufacturing process alter the existing base of my part?

Heat input is a significant consideration during additive manufacturing.  Our extensive experience with high-value component repair gives us an edge in minimizing heat input.  Using a combination of closed-loop feedback controls, heat sinking, and tool pathing, we guarantee the integrity of your parts.