Velo3D, Campbell, California, USA, has announced the commercial release of a manufacturing process for additively manufactured parts in aluminium F357 on its Sapphire® metal Additive Manufacturing system for thin-walled heat transfer applications.
According to the company, F357, a foundry-grade aluminium alloy, is suitable for the Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) process and enables the metal Additive Manufacturing of parts that have traditionally only been manufactured using casting practices. There are other aluminium alloys that are more commonly used in metal AM, such as AlSi10Mg, but aluminium F357 can be anodised and shares characteristics with A356, a widely-used casting alloy.
“Aluminium F357 has already been certified for mission-critical applications – unlike some exotic alloys – so it was a logical addition to our materials portfolio,” explained Benny Buller, Founder and CEO of Velo3D. “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.”
The manufacturing process was developed jointly with PWR, a global supplier of advanced cooling solutions to Formula 1, NASCAR and other racing series, along with the automotive, military and aerospace industries. Matthew Bryson, General Manager for PWR, commented, “We chose aluminium F357 due to its ideal material properties to suit thermal performance, machining and weldability.”
“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,” he explained.
Further to this new F357 manufacturing process, Velo3D’s patented SupportFree AM process eliminates the need for support structures for the production of complex passageways, steep overhangs and low angles. Coupled with its non-contact recoater, the company explains that its Additive Manufacturing process can produce the ultra-thin wall structures and high aspect ratios that are essential for a variety of flight-critical applications.