Parametric Development of Wire 3D Printing
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Currently commercialized additive manufacturing techniques offer great detail in small, difficult to produce parts. They are also slow, limited in scale, and expensive. An additive technique that can rapidly produce large parts is under development in the current thesis. The inexpensive Wire 3D printing process in development uses an electric arc to melt and deposit metal alloys at much greater rates than other additive manufacturing techniques. Large parts can be created (replacing a sand or investment casting) directly from drawings more rapidly with less material waste or machining time. Unique metal parts are quickly and economically produced. A wire 3D printer machine was designed, constructed, and evaluated at Auburn University. The wire 3D printer features a modular, open frame design allowing for easy access and continuous upgrades. A standard parametric data sheet was developed to establish a common data set for future researchers. Voltage and current requirements for different wire diameters were analyzed along with resulting wall widths and heights. Hollow and solid test geometries were printed in steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. The tensile strength of deposited steel structures was measured in multiple orientations achieving up to 90% of standard material values in one orientation. The microstructure and hardness of deposited structures were examined to determine process consistency. Deposited steel structures were found to be heat treatable. With improved controls and in-process feedback, custom castings can be easily replaced using this process in a wide array of materials. The wire 3D printing process is a viable option for low cost and rapid manufacture of metallic objects.