• Credit: iLAuNCH
    Credit: iLAuNCH

The commissioning of a new multi metal 3D printer in Melbourne as part of the iLAuNCH Trailblazer initiative is set to make space missions more affordable and efficient by creating lighter, faster and more robust aerospace components.

The Nikon SLM-280 (Selective Laser Melting) at CSIRO’s Lab22 facility will print metals side-by-side in one continuous print. This technology is well suited to aerospace, giving engineers design freedom to consolidate parts to reduce mass and cost.

“This capability is the first of its kind as a production machine in Australia, in fact the southern hemisphere, and iLAuNCH is pleased to open up new manufacturing possibilities for locally made products,” said iLAuNCH Trailblazer Chief Technology Officer Dr Joni Sytsma.

“We anticipate that the additional capabilities of this technology can also bring forth novel super alloys that are capable of maintaining ultra-high strength at the ultra-high temperatures that hypersonic vehicles need to survive, with a view to hypersonic air travel in the future.”

For iLAuNCH Trailblazer projects, SLM 280 technology will make potential space missions more affordable and efficient by creating lighter, faster and more robust space components.

“For decades, the technology used to bond dissimilar metals was predominantly Hot Isostatic Pressure (HIP) or the actual welding or brazing of two unique metals into one component,” said Nikon SLM Solutions, Global Director, Business Development for Aviation and Defense, Donald Godfrey.

“Delivering Laser Powder Bed Fusion technology to generate a truly functionally graded material component to CSIRO marks the first time the technology has been taken out of Germany. This technology sets a new cornerstone in the aerospace and defence and space industry for what is possible.”

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