The purpose of this paper is to investigate the combination of selective laser melting (SLM) and 5-axis CNC milling to produce parts from titanium powder. The aim is to achieve a more resource-efficient manufacturing process by reducing material wastage and machining time, while adhering to quality requirements.
A benchmark titanium aerospace component is manufactured with two different approaches using subtractive and additive manufacturing technologies. The first component is produced from a solid billet using only 5-axis CNC milling. The second component is grown from powder using SLM to produce a net-shaped part of which the final shape and part accuracy are achieved through 5-axis CNC milling. The potential saving of material and machining time of the process combination is evaluated by comparing it to the conventional purely CNC approach. The form accuracy, surface finish, mechanical properties and tool wear for the two processes are also compared.
The results show that the process combination can be used to produce Ti components that adhere to aerospace standards. With the process combination, a material saving of 87 per cent was achieved along with a reduction of 21 per cent in machining time. Further improvements are possible using optimized SLM build and machining strategies.
This paper presents the results of a resource efficiency assessment on the combination of SLM and 5-axis CNC milling for the titanium alloy, Ti6Al4V. It is expected that this process combination can make a significant contribution towards reducing material wastage and machining time for aerospace applications.
This work was funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology.
Conradie, P.J.T., Dimitrov, D., Oosthuizen, G.A., Hugo, P. and Saxer, M. (2017), "Comparative assessment of process combination for Ti6Al4V components", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 624-632. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-10-2015-0153
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