Support materials have always been important in the world of metal 3D printing to enable printing complex overhangs and intricate internal features.  When it comes to Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM), which is obviously the coolest of all the metal additive forms, many fillers have been tried.  Some past examples are ice, rock candy, and even other metals.  The key to a good support material for UAM is for it to be easy to add and remove from features without affecting the metal’s properties but still providing rock-solid support for welding.  As we all know by now, Fabrisonic’s unique process uses solid-state welding which means NO MELTING.  Solid-state welding enables a lot of cool aspects to UAM parts but puts special requirements on our support material. To refresh your memory, click the link to connect you to the infographic that helps explain this additive process.

Fabrisonic has been working with NASA on building out-of-this-world heat exchangers where support materials are sometimes necessary.  Through these programs, we’ve come up with two support materials that could revolutionize the future of UAM printing heat exchangers, cold plates and even radio frequency devices.  One support is a low temperature metal that can be melted and poured into feature without affecting the surrounding UAM material.  A second cool invention is a highly stiffened water-soluble mix that can be easily added to features while printing and then simply flushed out of the part after printing is complete.  Both newly developed supports are helping push the boundary of what’s possible when printing with UAM. Fabrisonic is constantly trying to research, develop and improve on the quality of builds so both options are proving to be useful additions to the Fabrisonic toolbox.  Who knows what the future might bring in the world of 3D printing and new UAM technology…

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