Additive 3D printing of metal models is far from news. But for a number of applications, products created on 3D printers require compliance with the strictest tolerance standards with precision to hundredths and thousandths of a millimeter. Popular additive printing technologies cannot provide such accuracy, which makes models require complex post-processing. German scientists have found the opportunity to bring the model to mind easier and faster.
Developed by scientists from Saarland University in Germany, the instrument is a kind of probe with a spray head at the bottom. The head sprays electrolyte from salts dissolved in water on the surface of a metal model that requires additional processing. At the same time, high voltage pulses are passed through the probe and head. As a result, electrochemical processes begin to occur on the surface of the processed model, which remove the metal layer by layer.
By adjusting the frequency of vibration of the head and adjusting the duration and amplitude of the pulses, it is possible to precisely control the volume of metal being removed. The technology has been tested on 3D models of steel, titanium and aluminum. The accuracy of the surface treatment was one thousandth of a millimeter. Volumetric metal models can be quickly processed to a smooth surface with the necessary tolerance, which promises to make additive printing of metal products even cheaper and better.
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