3D Hybrid Solutions Inc, Los Angeles, California, USA, has launched a range of tools aimed at simplifying metal Additive Manufacturing using existing CNC machines. The company, which was founded with the goal of applying advanced hybrid manufacturing processes to new applications, believes that its tools will lower the cost of metal AM, increase production speed and offer new capabilities such as the fabrication of multi-material parts.
The company is offering a number of specialised tools targeted at different Additive Manufacturing technologies including arc based, laser based and cold spray. “Our commitment to solving complex manufacturing problems with advanced AM methods has led us to revolutionise and integrate AM technologies to any CNC machine,” stated Karl Hranka, Founder of 3D Hybrid. Each of the company’s tools is reportedly designed to enable its users to take advantage of the most cost-effective solution for a given application.
3D Hybrid’s Arc tools are based on electrical discharge technology for long duration, controlled Additive Manufacturing processes in a CNC machine. According to the company, the Arc tools’ technology will enable the AM of a wide variety of feed-stock alloys. The tools also include process monitoring and control mechanisms.
A ‘Wire-Arc tool’ is said to offer build speeds of more than 35 in3/min and can reportedly be used with a number of materials including aluminium alloys, stainless steel alloys and nickel-based superalloys. The company’s ‘Wire+Powder tool’ expands the Wire-Arc tool’s capacity by enabling the co-deposition of powders in a wire-based process. This makes it possible to produce parts from alloys which are unavailable in wire form, and the tool is said to be able to alloy material in-situ. This also enables the production of metal matrix composite structures, bulk metallic glass structures and more.
For laser-based applications, its ‘Laser-Powder tool’ is available with a laser power of between 500W and 25,000W, a closed-loop temperature control and custom laser spots (0.1 mm – 10+ mm). The tool incorporates a concentric powder feed with a single nozzle, plus an anti-gravity nozzle for printing at angles less than 90° to horizontal. A ‘Laser-Wire tool’ offers a joined dual beam for multi-directional AM and is said to enable 100% material efficient wire deposition. It offers multiple wire feedstock capabilities. 3D Hybrid states that it offers a number of customisations for its laser tools, with many being built to order based on customer requirements.
Typical build rates with 3D Hybrid’s cold spray tools are said to be around 5 lb/h, varying based on process. The ‘Cold Spray tool’ offers multiple hoppers for long duration builds, custom alloying and gradient alloying, and is suitable for use with copper, nickel, aluminium, titanium, niobium, metal matrix composites and tantalum. The ‘High-Velocity Cold Spray tool’ is designed for processing harder alloys which require higher energy for efficient plastic deformation, while the ‘Laser-Assisted Cold Spray tool’ is designed for the high-speed deposition of harder alloys.
3D Hybrid is said to have experience in the rocket, aerospace, oil & gas and industrial sectors. The company offers its hybrid tools for any CNC machine, in addition to process development services for customers.