Metal 3D printer manufacturer VELO3D has qualified a new material for its Sapphire system: Hastelloy X, a nickel-based alloy which is particularly well suited for the production of combustion-zone components in gas turbine engines.
The newly qualified Hastelloy X metal powder has a number of beneficial properties for gas turbine manufacturing, including excellent corrosion cracking and oxidation resistance. The material also has an exceptional high-temperature strength, which is conducive to combustion-zone applications. The nickel-based alloy is the latest addition to the Sapphire 3D printer’s qualified materials portfolio, joining Titanium64, INCONEL alloy 718 and Aluminum F357.
“Power generation applications such as industrial gas turbines are a key focus for VELO3D so it is important that we qualify the right materials to serve that market,” said Benny Buller, the company’s Founder and CEO. “We will continue to add more of these types of compatible materials that enable customers to print parts they couldn’t before, yet with even better material properties than those produced by traditional manufacturing.”
Hastelloy X is already being used by VELO3D partner Sierra Turbines, a specialist in air mobility and power generation. The companies are working together to 3D print a prototype of Sierra Turbines’ 20-kilowatt microturbine engine with a unicore made of Hastelloy X. The part will be 3D printed using the support-free Sapphire system, and Sierra Turbines eventually aims to print 95% of its engine using the company’s metal AM technology.
“Sierra Turbines wants to lead aerial and power systems into a new way of manufacturing,” explained Roger Smith, Founder and CEO of Sierra Turbines. “That means pushing the limits of what is possible to create a more heat-resistant, lower maintenance, and higher-performing gas microturbine. VELO3D’s technology makes this the ideal manufacturing solution for turbines.”
Since bringing to market its metal AM platform in 2018, VELO3D has had an impressive trajectory. The company’s system has already been adopted by Duncan Machine Products, Knust-Godwin and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing (among others) and it has raised a total of $150 million in funding. Recently, the company revealed its plans to launch a new version of its support-free metal 3D printer with a build chamber measuring one meter in height. It is slated for release in Q4 2020.