A small volume, local shielding gas chamber with low gas consumption for Laser Wire Additive Manufacturing of bigger titanium parts

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University of Texas at Austin


This paper shows how additive manufacturing of large size titanium parts can be achieved by means of a mobile shielding gas chamber, without the consumption of excessive amounts of shielding gas. While welding, the oversized cover of the chamber can be slid to the sides without opening it. The laser head is only partly inserted into the chamber through the cover. This enables a small sized chamber and allows a quick filling with argon. Since the chamber has a low leakage, only small amounts of argon (5 l/min) are needed to maintain a sufficient welding atmosphere with less than 300 ppm oxygen. For large sized parts, the chamber can be repositioned on the substrate. It has flexible parts which can be fit to the already welded structures that otherwise would prevent the chamber from being put flat on the substrate. The limited build space inside the chamber requires a new welding strategy, which is suggested.


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