Solid Free-Form Fabrication
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
Rapid Metal Fabrication (RAMFAB) is a technique in urgent need of development. Since the introduction of rapid prototyping (RP) systems such as StereoLithography and Fused Deposition Modeling for creating non-metallic prototype parts of arbitrary geometry, manufacturing industries have been waiting anxiously for a system to create free-form metal parts directly from three-dimensional computer-aided-design (CAD) models. Metal parts are better able to withstand the rigors of performance testing and service than plastic, wax, or paper laminate parts. However, to make free-form metal parts using current RP techniques requires additional processes, such as molding and casting, which drive up the cost and lead time. It is proposed to make RAMPAB commercially available by combining the well-developed process of automated arc welding with some of the best elements of current rapid prototyping processes. Using knowledge of three-dimensional CAD modeling and computer- controlled robotics together with a team of academic and industry experts, a commercial system to create metal parts directly from three-dimensional CAD data will be developed. Since RAMFAB will be able to produce many high-strength, highly complex metal parts faster than conventional machining, casting, and forging operations, the process will be used for both prototyping and manufacturing.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:Kenneth J. Theimer
Waterjet Technology, Inc.
21414 68th Avenue South Kent, WA 98032
Number of Employees: