Having finished assembly and laid down several beads of metal on the plate a series of “scientific” tests were done to tune our setup. The variables include:
- Feed rate MIG welder
- Voltage setting of the MIG welder
- Travel rate of the torch
Results were rated qualitatively and after a day of testing a final setup was chosen which was deemed suitable for our purpose.
The MIG welder is set to feed wire at a rate of 4 [m/min]. The open circuit voltage level is set to 16.9 [V]. Travel rate of the torch will be 330 [mm/min]. Gas flow is set to 9 [L/min].
Using this setup beads were layered on top of each other to form a wall like shape resulting in a surprisingly consistent and strong structure. Grinding off the outer layer and polishing the smooth surface revealed a uniform formation with no visible lines between the layers of welds. A second wall was printed, to be analysed and destructively tested at the 3mE facilities.
The next step in the project will be to print hollow structure. More results to follow.
– The Metalprinters