Stephanie Hendrixson

Stephanie (Monsanty) Hendrixson served as a Modern Machine Shop summer intern in 2012 and joined the team as an assistant editor later that fall. She currently works on event news for MMS Online and on the production of the print magazine. She also blogs about additive technology and helps to manage Additive Manufacturing magazine as its associate editor. Stephanie holds an M.A. in professional writing from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. in English literature and history from the University of Mount Union.

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 5. May 2016

Hybrid Manufacturing in the Spotlight at Canadian Forum

PTooling opened its Ontario shop to Canadian and international manufacturing professionals interested in additive manufacturing. A mural depicting some of the company’s key employees greets visitors just inside the door. 

Manufacturers from Canada and the United States gathered at PTooling’s Amherstburg, Ontario, facility for an Additive Manufacturing forum April 27-28. Jointly hosted by Canada Makes and the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp., the event included presentations from Marv Fiebig, president of PTooling; Dr. Gregory Hyatt, senior vice president and CTO of advanced solutions development for DMG MORI USA; and Matthias Kuehnelt of Hoedtke GmbH & Co. KG.

Mr. Fiebig focused his talk on what was, in many ways, the centerpiece of the event: PTooling’s DMG MORI Lasertec 65 3D hybrid manufacturing system. The machine combines five-axis CNC milling capabilities with a powder-fed laser deposition head to enable both additive and subtractive operations in the same cycle. The hybrid machine makes it possible to build additive parts up from scratch, as well as add features onto machined parts or repair damaged components.

PTooling’s became the first Lasertec additive manufacturing machine to be installed in North America when the company took delivery of it in December 2015. Now, it is one of three on the continent, but it remains the only one producing parts for external customers (the other two are captive machines owned by SpaceX and Boeing).

Marv Fiebig, president, PTooling

Marv Fiebig, president of PTooling, spoke to visitors about the company’s decision to purchase a hybrid manufacturing machine and the results it has seen so far.

Mr. Fiebig’s presentation described PTooling’s experience with the Lasertec hybrid and how additive manufacturing has affected its business. The company primarily serves the oilfield industry, but Mr. Fiebig says the new machine is opening up other possibilities in industries such as aerospace and plastics molding. He is also finding that new customers are now seeking out PTooling because of this capacity. Hosting the forum and open house was another way to help educate colleagues and potential customers about the technology.

Dr. Hyatt looked to AM’s future, drawing comparisons between additive manufacturing today and the automotive industry in the early 20th century and arguing that additive is on its way to being democratized similar to the way that automobiles eventually were. “We’re 80 percent of the way there,” he said, citing AM’s current capabilities to build on existing structures, incorporate multiple materials and integrate subtractive machining.

What will it take to achieve the remaining 20 percent? Cost per part must continue to come down and work envelopes must increase. Software that is easy to use and supports both AM and subtractive machining must be available. Robust machines that can handle 24/7 production must be developed. Dr. Hyatt also spoke to how DMG MORI is working to address these remaining concerns to help bring AM into production.

Lasertec 65 3D laser head and test part

The Lasertec 65 3D has a laser deposition head fed with metal powder to additively build parts and features. The machine was running during the open house producing souvenirs for visitors.

Matthias Kuehnelt of Hoedtke spoke about the company’s research into best practices for hybrid manufacturing. Hoedtke, based in Germany, also owns a Lasertec 65 3D and has performed extensive testing on this machine with regard to both its additive and subtractive capabilities. Mr. Kuehnelt presented results from various tests exploring how parameters such as table movement and the direction of deposition affect the strength and quality of additive parts.

The event concluded with a Q&A session with the three speakers, and tours of PTooling’s facility. The organizers plan to make the additive manufacturing forum an annual event, and PTooling expects to host it again next year.  

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 21. April 2016

Video: Metal Additive Manufacturing, Step by Step

Aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has been using additive manufacturing for prototyping since the 1980s, but just recently began producing service parts using a metal powder-bed process. The components the company is building will be part of the PurePower geared turbofan PW1500G engine, to be used in Bombardier aircraft.

The video above illustrates the production process for one such component. Beyond the significance of the engine, the video is worthwhile for its succinct depiction of the steps involved in additively manufacturing a metal component, both before and after the actual build. Fast-forward to the 1:20 mark to catch this step-by-step footage. ​

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 14. April 2016

Video: Does Metal Additive Manufacturing Compete with Machining?

Is there a conflict between additive manufacturing and CNC machining? Robert Chiari, a regional sales manager with Renishaw, says no—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. He points out that many manufacturers use both subtractive and additive processes to arrive at a finished part. In the video above, Mr. Chiari discusses the complementary technologies in a conversation with Senior Editor Peter Zelinski.

(This video is one of a series of interviews filmed during the most recent Additive Manufacturing Conference. View the complete list of videos on the Additive Manufacturing website.) 

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 31. March 2016

Freedom in Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing

Sciaky’s EBAM system is equipped with two wire feeders that travel with the electron beam head, enabling the building of large parts.  

Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) holds plenty of possibilities for metal AM applications. The process builds parts using an electron beam to melt metal wire that travels with the beam head. In contrast to powder bed systems in which the size of the part is limited by the size of the bed, parts built on an EBAM system can be as large as the machine’s travels permit.

This capacity for building large parts plus its speed gives EBAM clear potential as an alternative to forging. Like forging, it is a near-net-shape process capable of building large forms. But unlike forging, it requires no die or other tooling, making it faster and more flexible. EBAM can provide design freedoms in geometry that forging cannot.

But perhaps more significantly, EBAM also provides material freedom. Chicago-based Sciaky has developed an EBAM system that allows for two different wires to be fed into the machine. This dual-fed system could be used to deposit two spools of wire simultaneously, increasing throughput, or loaded with both large-diameter and fine wire to provide a range of detail. However, its greatest potential may lie in the ability to blend wires of two different alloys within the same build, creating a proprietary alloy or even a gradient between materials. 

Read more about the possibilities of EBAM and how Lockheed Martin is building propellant tank components with this technology on Additive Manufacturing magazine’s website. 

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 24. March 2016

Will Additive Manufacturing Subtract from Machining?

Will additive manufacturing (AM) overtake machining and traditional processes? This was one of the questions posed during an AM panel discussion hosted by Mazak and moderated by Senior Editor Peter Zelinski.

Panelists said that the use of AM will grow as engineers begin to design for the technology, but for now tolerances prevent additive from taking the place of machining. The video above contains the entire 5-minute segment of the discussion.

Panelists (from left to right) are:

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