One of the well-known realities of additive manufacturing is that it is painfully slow, with print times ranging from hours to days. It’s no wonder then, why a small group of manufacturers caused a stir at the RAPID 2018 conference when they demonstrated the capabilities of Cold Spray Deposition, a relatively new deposition technology that uses a hypersonic airstream to apply many types of metal powders at speeds that seem to be on the verge of science fiction. The term “cold spray” can be slightly deceptive because in some systems the gas streams that deliver the metal powder to the receiving surface can be as high as 1100 degrees C, although it is held below the powder’s actual melting temperature. The energy of the particles’ high-speed impact adds the remining heat required to fuse them to the receiving surface.

Impact Innovations was exhibiting stand-alone cold spray systems that could be integrated into other manufacturing equipment for performing high-speed coating of shafts, castings, and machined parts with dissimilar metals, and repairing high-value components, such as turbine blades. In the adjacent stall, Speed3D (shown in the video) demonstrated its recently-released metal printer that uses cold deposition to form rough shapes weighing a pound or more in a matter of minutes. The Speed3D machine was conceived as an alternative to a foundry, able to produce machineable “castings” on demand at a similar cost to conventional processes. The claims seemed so fantastic that I had to stick around for a demonstration, and take a video to share with the PD&D readership.

Article By: Lee Goldberg