For the aerospace industry, digital part materialization in sand offers the largest build size available for 3D printing for parts as large as 1800 x 1000 x 700 mm (70 x 39 x 27 inch). Standard foundry industry materials are used, enabling easy integration of the process into existing manufacturing and foundry procedures. The large build volume and high build rate combine to make patternless production a reality for metal-based prototype castings and low volume production in aluminium and copper alloys, gray and ductile iron and magnesium. Applications include complex gear cases and covers, fuel tanks, transmission housings, components requiring draft free walls, lightweight engine parts, and structural hinges.
Digital part materialization in metals is used for prototyping components such as impellers and blades quickly and reliably. Providing spare parts for legacy systems, such as in the defense sector is another great application for digital part materialization. Build sizes as large as 735 x 355 x 355 mm (29 x 14 x 14 inch) are available.
Short-pulse lasers remove microns of material from precise locations with each one of the thousands of pulses per second, resulting in an accurate surface or hole with minimal material heating and little or no heat affected zone for drilling cooling holes in aircraft turbine blades. Holes as small as 50 microns with recast of less than 1 micron and machining speeds as fast as 3 seconds per hole when drilling through 1mm of diesel injector material can be drilled, including shaped and positively tapered holes to promote better cooling efficiency.