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Additive manufacturing –
helping push the boundaries of space and science

According to Grace Hopper – a pioneer of computer programming and a United States Navy rear admiral – “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions!” Anyone working to push the boundaries of space and science applications knows that ‘almost right’ is useless. Precision is everything. That is why here at Frazer-Nash we place a priority on precision in our additive manufacturing (AM) processes.

Focusing on the metallic side of additive manufacturing technology, we concentrate specifically on laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). More commonly referred to as either DMLS or SLM, it enables us to create the highest quality cast parts that help make space and science dreams a reality.

Additive manufacturing for the space industry has come a long way over the past 30 years. Developed as a tool for speedy prototyping, it now enables us to work with many of the leading organisations in the space sector, helping to give form to innovative ideas and placing them into the hands of engineers worldwide. 3D printing for the space industry is already supporting the creation of more efficient rockets and low-cost satellites and helping to lower the cost of other space applications.

The story is much the same in AM for science applications. From cryogenics to instrumentation, scientific developments are being assisted by the creation of precision engineered components and systems and AM is helping scientists to discover ever more about this world we all share.

Additive Manufacturing Design Guide

AM design guide cover

Download our free additive manufacturing design guide – just fill in our simple form and receive your copy. 

    Step 1 – Build Preparation

    Preparation is everything for a precision end result. This is done using Renishaw’s QuantAM software. As well as part orientation and support structure generation (if required), the software creates 1000s of sliced layers of CAD data and this ‘slice file’ is then sent to the machine. 

    AM process_01

    Step 2 – Loading Build Plate

    The build platform, that can vary in size and thickness depending on machine and materialis loaded into the chamber and secured.  

    AM process_02

    Step 3 – Loading Powder

    The powder used for the build is sieved to ensure that uniformity is maintained throughout. It is then loaded into the machine and topped up if required during the build.  

    AM process_03

    Step 4 – Remove Air

    To ensure quality throughout the process, airborne contaminates are reduced by evacuating the build chamber.  

    AM process_04

    Step 5 - Protective Atmosphere

    The chamber is then back filled with an inert gas (Renishaw machines use Argon), helping reduce oxidisation during the build. 

    AM process_05

    Step 6 – Powder Delivery

    The ‘recoater arm’ then places a layer of metal powder, usually 0.02—0.08mm thick, across the build platform.  

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    Step 7 – Laser Melting

    Using the information from the ‘slice file’, the laser traces the desired shape into the powder bed.  

    AM process_07

    Step 8 – Building in Layers

    When the laser tracing has finished the layer, the build plate then drops down and steps 6 ,7 and 8 are repeated until the full component is built. 

    AM process_08

    Build Platform

    Base plates are usually made from the same type of material as the one being printed. The build platform is typically 250 x 250 mm, meaning that the available build chamber size is around 250 x 250 x 280mm high.  

    Parts are built vertically up from the build platform. However, the advantage of using L-PBF is that different parts can be produced on the same build, whether these are variants on a similar design or completely different designs. 

    Additive Manufacturing

    Frazer-Nash Manufacturing provides an expert end-to-end additive manufacture service for 3D printing custom metal parts. Find out more on our Additive Manufacturing process below.

    Designing for Additive Manufacturing

    Find out more about Designing for Additive Manufacturing
    Click Here

    Additive Manufacturing Process

    Find out more about our
    Additive Manufacturing process
    Click Here

    Post Processing for Additive Manufacturing

    Find out more about our Additive Manufacturing Post Processing
    Click Here

    Get in touch

    Contact Frazer-Nash Manufacturing for a discussion of your specific requirements. 

    Call us on +44 (0)1730 230 340 or submit your enquiry using this form to request a call back.

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