Researchers at the University of Sheffield (U.K.) have developed a 3-D printing technology, Diode Area Melting (DAM), which melts large areas while incorporating an array of individual laser diodes that can be switched on an off as they move across the material.
The DAM process uses lasers to 3-D print projects at high speeds. (YouTube)
According to a report from the school in May, this process builds on past attempts at laser melting systems because it moves past using a single mirror to deflect a single laser. With this new technique, the process will be much faster.
Dr. Kristian Groom from the university’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering said, “Key to the success of the DAM process was a move to shorter wavelength laser arrays (808nm) where increased absorption of the individually collimated and focused beams allowed melting points in excess of 1400℃ to be reached within a few milliseconds, enabling production of fully dense stainless steel 17-4 parts.”
The researchers were moving on to further investigations into laser interaction, scaling the system, and working towards polymer processing. The report concluded, “The team believes it may be possible to combine wavelength-targeted processing of a wide range of materials in one machine.”
Learn more about the school’s additive manufacturing advances in this video: