Freemelt ONE

The 3D printer tailored for materials research and development

Freemelt ONE is designed to make materials not yet known to mankind. Materials that engineers dream about. Materials that give us lighter, stronger and more efficient products.

Features

The ideal toolbox for materials R&D

Clean
Outstanding vacuum quality due to low outgassing materials, all-metal seals and clever design preventing moisture-absorbing metallization.

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Protected
Powder and mechanics fully protected against heat, evaporation, electrons and X-rays during e-beam operation.

Powerful
6 kW electron gun for fast processing and very high powder bed temperatures, >1200 °C. Enables hot processing of crack-sensitive materials and refractory metals.

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Robust
Stiff chamber preventing thermal distortion. All-metal vacuum seals near hot regions.

Lean
Tests can be run with very small powder quantities, thanks to a small build tank and lean powder feeding. Work with cups rather than buckets.

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Time-saving
Small vacuum chamber, 70 liters, with high capacity pumps. Pumps down faster and cools quicker.

Easy
Designed for smooth chamber cleaning, with exchangeable panels and easy access. Clean the system and load another material in a couple of hours.

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Adaptable
Several auxiliary ports for cameras and other R&D instruments. Free line-of-sight into the process chamber, from several directions. Full visibility also of the powder recoating system.

Hardware

An in-depth look at Freemelt ONE

A true research equipment

Freemelt ONE is versatile and user friendly. The machine is rigidly supported by a frame structure without an outer shell, giving open access to all ports on the vacuum chamber. If needed, the frame is easily modified to support third-party R&D equipment connected to the system. There are two operating sides to separate powder handling from machine operation:
The door side – where the operator loads powder into the vacuum chamber and take out built parts
The viewport side – where the operator is observing and controlling the E-PBF process

Vacuum chamber interior

The interior is divided by a wall into two compartments. The hot E-PBF process takes place in the build tank in the left compartment. In the right compartment is the powder tank and the recoater. Thanks to the dividing wall, the powder tank and the recoater remain clean, cool and well protected from the process environment conditions. A shutter opens in the wall when the recoater spreads powder from the powder tank to the build tank.

Vacuum chamber

The vacuum chamber has thick steel walls and high stiffness to prevent thermal distortion. All-metal seals and differential pumping solutions contribute to an excellent vacuum quality.

Recoater mechanism

The linear motion of the recoater is actuated by a mechanism positioned outside the vacuum chamber ensuring durability since it is not exposed to the process conditions and can easily be accessed and serviced.

Adaptable powder feeding

The design and properties of the recoater blades and the overall design of the recoater can be further modified and optimized by the user. The movement of the recoater and the powder feeding pistons can also be programmed without restrictions.

 

Electron beam source

The electron beam source is a diode type source with a laser heated cathode. The advantage of this source type is its consistent beam spot quality throughout the entire beam power range 0-6 kW. Freemelt ONE thus allows you to operate the electron beam at very high beam currents while still maintaining a well-focused beam spot. This is essential to reach high build rates as well as extremely high build temperatures.

Electron beam source
Operating system:
Linux
Data clock frequency:
350kHz (1MHz optional)
Cathode heater:
CO2 Laser
Build file format:
Open Beam Path (OBP)
Beam Power:
Variable 0-6 kW
Beam acceleration voltage:
60 kV
Build envelope:
100 mm H x 100 mm Ø
Base pressure in vacuum chamber:
10-6 hPa (mbar)
Base pressure in electron gun:
10-7 hPa (mbar)
Pumpdown time of vacuum chamber:
<15 minutes

Software

An in-depth look at Freemelt ONE

Freemelt architecture schematic overview

Beam control data path

The electron beam in Freemelt ONE is controlled by complex magnetic fields created by many magnetic coils acting together. This is made possible by our Field Construct software, an innovative and robust approach using computing power instead of complex hardware. The result is faster positioning of the electron beam to the right place at the right time.

Architecture

The Freemelt ONE software is built bottom-up in layers to ensure stability. A service interacts with specific hardware, abstracting it into an API. A controller implements sequences and functions that use one or several services. A build processor runs the actual build by executing a build file provided by the user, sending commands to controllers and services. A user interface provides information and receives commands for the build processors, controllers and services. An arbiter prioritizes between the different actions while a data share interface records and passes relevant data.

Instrumentation

An advanced trigger and data acquisition system is integrated with the beam control data path. The data acquisition system records high rate sample data from sensors in Freemelt ONE where the trigger system is used to synchronize sampled data with the melt process.

Packages

BOCCI
Web based machine user interface
BOSS
A straightforward build processor that executes a static sequence
Metrics Relay
Stores all data from MQTT to a time series database
Arbiter
Gives the right to control machine hardware to avoid conflicts
Vacuum Controller
Executes pumping and venting sequences
Cathode Controller
Handles tuning and monitoring of cathode
Electron service
Controls cathode and electron emission
Recoater Service
Handles the powder recoater, the build tank and powder tank
Chamber service
Controls vacuum pumps and other hardware, such as thermocouples
Path Streamer
Streams OBP data to Field Construct
Field Construct
Translates OBP data to coil magnetic fields

Demo

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