JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Filomeno Martino a researcher at Cranfield University, UK, holds an aircraft part produced by wire + arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), which deposits layers of metal from a wire in a technique derived from welding. Items produced by this method have a rough surface on leaving the process as seen at the base of the cylinder but are subsequently machined to a conventional finish as at the top. The time taken to manufacture such pieces from steel, titanium, copper and other metals, alloys and composite materials is significantly shorter than using conventional methods, with considerable cost savings. The concept was first described in 1927 but developments in robotic control are creating interest in its possible importance in the manufacture of, for instance, aircraft parts which are conventionally cut from solid blocks of metal. Photographed at Cranfield University, UK.
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