Additive Manufacturing

Robotic GMA-P DED AM Build Technology for Aluminum Vehicle Structures

by Canaday; Harwig; Carney


Gas metal arc pulse directed energy deposition (GMA-P DED) offers large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities and lower cost systems compared to laser or electron beam DED. These advantages position GMA-DED as a promising manufacturing process for widespread industrial adoption. To enable this “digital” manufacturing of a component from a computer-aided design (CAD) file, a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) solver is necessary to generate build plans and utilize welding parameter sets based on feature and application requirements. Scalable and robot-agnostic computer-aided robotics (CAR) software is therefore essential to provide automated toolpath generation. This work establishes the use of Autodesk PowerMill Ultimate software as a CAM/CAR solution for arc-based DED processes across robot manufacturers. Preferred aluminum GMA-P DED welding parameters were developed for single-pass wide “walls” and multi-pass wide “blocks” that can be configured to build a wide range of features and components from ER5183. These parameters were incorporated into Autodesk PowerMill Ultimate to create several representative builds using GMA-DED of ER5183 with an 8-axis OTC Daihen GMA robot cell.