Additive, laser-assisted manufacturing techniques studied at the Chair of Laser Processing at the University of Twente can produce parts stretching from micrometres to metres and covering a broad range of materials with a special focus on the deposition of metals.
In the first part of the presentation, we show advances in laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT), a type of ‘functional’ 3D printing, that uses ultrashort pulsed lasers to fabricate parts with micron-size features. The LIFT technique can be used for structures from metals, semiconductors, dielectrics, ceramics, polymers and even biomaterials, is contactless and can be carried out at ambient atmosphere. At Twente, our aim is to produce very small, pure and free form metallic micro structures required for applications in microfabrication, such as in MEMS or electronic chips.
Furthermore, we will present results of laser metal deposition (LMD) or laser cladding, a powder blown laser fabrication process, used to additively manufacture components layer by layer, with a single layer thickness ranging from 0.2-2.0 mm. Fabrication throughput of LMD is several kg/hour intended for larger, metre-scale parts. LMD is employed for a broad range of compositions, e.g. Ti-, Ni- and Fe-based metal alloys with intended applications in biomedical, aerospace and metal forming sectors. In addition, extreme fast cooling of the laser melt yields a highly refined microstructure, improving thermo-mechanical properties for high temperature applications. A recent addition of a 10 kW Trumpf laser with special beam shaping possibilities will allow an increase in fabrication throughput and to implement extreme high-speed laser additive manufacturing (EHLA).