You are here

Metal Printing with 2-D Imaging System for High Speed-Large Area Format Additive Manufacturing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-22-P-0602
Agency Tracking Number: F2D-2603
Amount: $1,500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF211-DCSO2
Solicitation Number: X21.1
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-03-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-04-13
Small Business Information
7442 S. Tucson Way
Centennial, CO 80112-3999
United States
DUNS: 079878949
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Matt Finuf
 (636) 578-1567
Business Contact
 Mark Zediker
Phone: (636) 578-1567
Research Institution

NUBURU is proposing to adapt its innovative PrintBlueTM - a blue laser-based 3D printing system that disrupts the way metal additive manufacturing is performed today. Today’s machines use a single mode laser and a scanner to rapidly scan a small spot (40-75 um) across a powder bed. This small spot fuses the powder using the keyhole mode of welding, which is a dynamic weld puddle resulting in continuous spatter from the vaporization of the powder as well as defects throughout the part. The PrintBlueTM approach uses conduction mode welding, which has a quiescent weld puddle, resulting in minimal spatter during the powder melting process. This fusion method results in the highest density parts that can possibly be achieved without the need for sophisticated insitu feedback process monitors. Because the PrintBlueTM process is fundamentally different than any other additive manufacturing method in use today, it will disrupt the current markets and result in a rapid and substantial market adoption once introduced to the commercial markets. PrintBlueTM uses blue laser as the printing and fusing tool. Blue wavelength have a significantly higher absorbance index in metals than the traditional IR lasers used in industry. Metal absorption of blue vs. IR is 3x higher in Aluminum, 13X in copper and 66x in gold. This allows faster printing and lower-power lasers, making the systems more efficient, cheaper and easier to use. The proposed R/R&D for the PrintBlueTM system is to construct a 3-d printer system that can demonstrate the superior performance of the PrintBlueTM technology. The printer will be a larger format than other powder bed printers available in the commercial marketplace today. The laser to be used will be a high power, 650-Watt blue laser, and the print bed will be 700 mm x 700 mm in size. There are no 3-d printers on the market today that use a blue laser system or are this size. The system is designed around a 3-axis gantry system instead of the high-speed scanners used in today’s systems. Since the PrintBlueTM system prints an area approximately 4 mm x 2 mm at a time there is no need for the high-speed scanner. The highspeed scanners are what limit the addressable print volume in today’s 3d printers since the f-theta lens determines the size and extent of the processing volume. By using a gantry style system, the size of the print volume is essentially limited only by the size of the gantry system used. PrintBlueTM is at TRL 6 product demonstration stage. The 650-Watt blue laser is commercially available and deployed worldwide, making it TRL9. The motion controllers are COTS components, making them TRL9 as well. Other components - including printing head and the software - were demonstrated on a breadboard model of the system, making them TRL6.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government