UPCOMING: 2024 Practicum on Additive Manufacturing of Metallic Materials

Category Archives: AM News

Valves and Fittings with Large-Format Multi-Laser PBFM

Penn State’s CIMP-3D recently demonstrated its capabilities for large format multi-laser powder bed fusion by fabricating three large aluminum components representative of fittings on industrial-scale piping systems. Working alongside 3D Systems, the entire production process was executed from start-to-finish, including: design-for-AM, fabrication, post-processing, and inspection.

For this demonstration, two 90-degree elbows and one globe valve body were manufactured. The parts were designed in SolidWorks and then exported to 3DXpert, where they were oriented to reduce supports and other fabrication risks. The parts were then additively manufactured in DMP Factory 500, which employ three lasers working simultaneously across the build plate to manufacture parts quickly and accurately within a build volume of 50 x 50 x 50 cm3 . The machine is vacuum sealed for a controlled print environment, ensuring high quality material. Once the parts were printed, excess powder was removed and recycled. Electrical discharge machining (EDM) was used to remove the parts from the build plate. Once removed from the build plate, the supports were manually removed, and post build inspection was conducted using ARL Penn State’s high power digital radiography. A video that covers this process can be found here:

This demonstration underscores the commitment at CIMP-3D to further advance its already world-class capabilities within metal based additive manufacturing to support US industry and the Department of Defense. The research institute is well equipped to undertake projects in large format multi-laser powder bed fusion. Its dedicated team of researchers bring a wealth of experience and expertise, allowing continuous improvements and innovations.

To learn more, please contact:

Dr. E. W. (Ted) Reutzel
Director of CIMP-3D
Associate Research Professor, ARL Penn State
(814) 880-9855 | ewr101@arl.psu.edu

Metal AM for 3D Compliant Mechanisms

Compliant mechanisms enable engineered motion, force transmission, and energy absorption without linkages or assemblies.  Dr. Jared Butler (PSU ME) has been developing compliant mechanisms for a wide range of applications, and with doctoral student Connor Huxman, has recently turned his attention to medical applications.  One exciting development they’re pioneering is compliant bone plates1,2, which promote healing in comminuted fractures by enabling prescribed axial strain while preventing shear.  These compliant mechanisms are typically cut from sheet, but CIMP-3D teamed up with Dr. Butler to fabricate a Ti6Al4V version of this compliant mechanism using powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (3D Systems ProX 320).  See a video of this compliant mechanism in action below.

CIMP-3D engineers and scientists believe there are innumerable untapped applications that will benefit from 3D compliant mechanisms produced by additive manufacturing, and we’re confident this application is only the tip of the iceberg.  Contact us to help bring your vision to reality.

1Huxman, C., Lewis, G., Updegrove, G., Armstrong, A., & Butler, J. (2023, April). A compliant fracture fixation plate for controlled axial motion in long bone healing. In Frontiers in Biomedical Devices (Vol. 86731, p. V001T09A010). American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
2Huxman, C., & Butler, J. (2024). Modeling Stiffness and Stress in Serpentine Flexures for Use in a Compliant Bone Plate. 
Journal of Mechanical Design, 146(4).

Additive Manufacturing for the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter Fuel Elbow Service/Agency: DLA & Army

Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory has been supporting maintenance and sustainment activities for the DoD over the past 30 years. Recently, the Defense Logistics Agency along with U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (CCDC AvMC) has completed an effort to determine the viability of additive manufacturing, specifically laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), for producing components used for aircraft sustainment. To ascertain the potential of additively manufactured components and the requirements to verify the performance of additively manufactured components used in aircraft, a UH-60 fuel elbow was redesigned and built at the Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) of the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State (ARL-PSU).