Material extrusion (MEX) 3D printers suffer from an intrinsic limitation of small size of the prints due to its restricted bed dimension. On the other hand, friction stir spot welding (FSSW) is gaining wide interest from automobile, airplane, off-road equipment manufacturers and even consumer electronics. This paper aims to explore the possibility of FSSW on Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene/Polylactic acid 3D-printed components to overcome the bed size limitation of MEX 3D printers.
Four different tool geometries (tapered cylindrical pin with/without concavity, pinless with/without concavity) were used to produce the joints. Three critical process parameters related to FSSW (tool rotational speed, plunge depth and dwell time) and two related to 3D printing (material combination and infill percentages) were investigated and optimized using the Taguchi L27 design of experiments. The influence of each welding parameter on the shear strength was evaluated by analysis of variance.
Results revealed that the infill percentage, a 3D printing parameter, had the maximum effect on the joint strength. The joints displayed pull nugget, cross nugget and substrate failure morphologies. The outcome resulted in the joint efficiency reaching up to 100.3%, better than that obtained by other competitive processes for 3D-printed thermoplastics. The results, when applied to weld a UAV wing, showed good strength and integrity. Further, grafting the joints with nylon micro-particles was also investigated, resulting in a detrimental effect on the strength.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that the welding of dissimilar 3D-printed thermoplastics with/without microparticles is possible by FSSW, whilst the process parameters have a considerable consequence on the bond strength.
The authors would like to thank Additive Manufacturing and Reverse Engineering Lab, Industrial Microwave Heating Applications Lab for the research facilities, KLS Gogte Institute of Technology, and Visveswaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi for the research encouragement. They also thank Mr. Pratiksingh Nargundkar, Mr. Raunak Sunil Deshpande and Mr. Patil Kisan Raju–UG students, Department of Mechanical Engineering for conducting the experimental trials.
Tiwary, V.K., Padmakumar, A. and Malik, V.R. (2024), "Investigations on friction stir spot welding to overcome bed size limits of material extrusion (MEX) 3D printers", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 106-123. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-01-2023-0030
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