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The LENS 450 metal 3D printer from Optomec uses a high-power laser to build up structures one layer at a time directly from powdered metals. The process takes place in a chamber that is purged with argon so that the oxygen level stays below 10 parts per million, ensuring that no impurities are picked up during deposition. Printed parts can be heat-treated, hot-isostatic-pressed, machined or finished in virtually any other manner.
The LENS 450 can process a variety of materials, including stainless steel, cobalt chrome, titanium and superalloys, making it suited for rapid prototyping and repair of small metal components. It features a 100-cubic-mm (64-cubic-inch) work envelope within a Class 1 laser enclosure, a 400-W fiber laser, powder feeder, motion control system and process control software.
Can Additive Manufacturing Increase Milling Feed Rates?
With PCD tooling, yes it can. The diamond cutting edges demand a large number flutes to realize their full effectiveness. Traditional methods for making cutter bodies limit the number of flutes, but 3D printing is delivering tools with higher flute density and other enhancements as well.