From: Timothy J Gornet (
Date: Thu Mar 13 2003 - 18:05:56 EET

AeroMet has been a very successful application for creating Ti large
scale airframe type parts. Optomec has concentrated initially on Ti due
to its focus on government funded research in that area. Equipment from
Optomec is commercially available and in use. In addition, POM of
Detroit has a competing technology, direct metal deposition (DMD), that
started with a focus on tooling and tooling modification using tool
steels, SS, etc.... Both DMD and LENS are based on a couple of patents
from Los Alamos and Sandia but had different goals at the start. Both
technologies seem to be progessing fairly rapidly with their
technologies. The areas of Ti parts, multi and gradient materials, tool
modification, and high thermal conductivity assemblies are in use. POM, , has an overview of their equipment and processes
online. They have been quite successful in Detroit with tooling
modification as well as other new applications. LENS info can be found
at . Check out the M3D technology for direct write
electronics. Aeromet, , has an informative web site
on their activities - they have received quite a bit of DOD type funding
as well.

All three technologies are quite feasible today for many applications,
each with their own areas of focus.

Aluminum is a more difficult material to deposit for a couple of
reasons, reflectivity and low melt point. These technologies are best
for high performance materials that are difficult to machine or very
expensive to have the chips fly as waste (Ti). For example, if you need
a hardened tool steel tool, think of being able to machine a preform
with 95% of all geometry out of cold roll steel which machines like
butter and add a H13 tool steel surface or other more exotic material or
blend of material. POM deposits H13 with a hardness of about 53
Rockwell. The possibilities are endless: conformal cooling, embedded
sensors, high or very low thermal conductivity,etc...

The real issue with the advanced use of these machines has more to do
with solid modeling software limitations. They are basically reverse NC
machining. How do you represent a part with multiple materials in
different areas or gradient materials in a CAD solid model??? Then
deposit that way?

We have a POM DMD 3000 machine and have been using it for over 6 months
on many applications. It is NOT rapid prototyping. It is more of a
machine tool. More work goes into setup than in the deposition. Set up
is similiar to NC machining so fixturing, tool access (or deposition
head in this case) needs to be considered. The rules of deposition are
different than those of removal. Stainless runs great in this

Check out the applications on the different web sites.


Tim Gornet Computer Aided Engineering Consultant
SLUGNET: Vogt Bldg. Rm 101, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
PHONENET: (502)852-0714 FAXNET: (502)852-8890
Rapid Prototyping Center

>>> Makai Smith <> 03/13/03 09:45AM >>>

Would anyone mind saying a few things about Laser Engineered Net

What about the progress of AeroMet's application of Sandia research?

Where is this technology at, say with regard to commercial feasibility
cost? Timeframe?

Why has development focused on the sintering of Ti? Would it be
possible to
use a process for fabricating in stainless or aluminum?

|\/| /\ |< /\ |
O. Makai Smith

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