Originally titled 'Ultrasonic AM Machine Welds Metals into 3D Parts'
The SonicLayer 4000 from Fabrisonic LLC features the company’s patented ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) technology, which uses sound to weld together metals into solid three-dimensional shapes.
Because the UAM process uses solid state welding, it lends itself to welding dissimilar metals, including aluminum, copper, stainless steel and titanium. And, unlike a metal fusion process, UAM avoids brittle inter-metallics that form during the combination of two or more metals, the company says.
Periodic machining operations help create further details on UAM-built objects, including deep slots; hollow, latticed or honeycombed internal structures; and other complex geometries that are virtually impossible with conventional subtractive manufacturing processes, Fabrisonic says.
The SonicLayer 4000 features a 9-kW welding head for additively manufacturing the solid metal parts and a three-axis CNC mill with a 25-hp, 8,000-rpm spindle for machining them. The SonicLayer 4000R model also offers a fourth axis that rotates underneath the traditional three-axis motion system. This additional rotary axis is designed to position a cylindrical part under the welding system and enables the 3D printing of metal features on the OD of a shaft, cylinder or pipe. It can be used for applications such as cladding expensive metals onto inexpensive substrates, adding intermittent stiffeners to pressure vessels and adding 3D features to standard barstock.
To enhance productivity, every machine also is equipped with Fabrisonic’s G-code CAM software for true CAD-to-part automation. When CAD geometry is imported into SonicCAM, the software generates the tool path for both welding and machining. The automatically-generated G code is then moved to the machine for production.