Can You 3D Print with Machining Chips?

Meld Manufacturing’s solid-state metal 3D printing process is compatible with a range of materials and formats, even chips from machining.


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Nanci Hardwick of Meld Manufacturing

Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Meld Manufacturing, describes its metal 3D printing process as friction stir welding with a third dimension. The technology makes it possible to print with a range of material formats, including the metal chips she’s holding. 

Most metal 3D printing processes require a laser or electron beam to melt the material, and most metal 3D printing processes require a standardized wire or powder to work reliably and predictably.

Meld Manufacturing’s technology is not like most metal 3D printing processes. This metal deposition technique is based on friction stir welding, which forms geometries with friction and pressure. Stock is rotated and pressed against a surface at high force to build up a part. 

There’s no melting involved, so parts made this way are free from the residual stresses that cause distortion in other metal 3D printing processes. Friction stir welding also makes it possible to 3D print with metals that are challenging to fuse with laser-based systems such as magnesium, copper and steel. According to Nanci Hardwick, CEO, the real promise of this technology could be using dissimilar metals within the same part. 

See how this system works in the short video below, and check out the full story about Meld Manufacturing on the Additive Manufacturing website, including photos of parts made with this technology. 



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