Product Code: ICAL08_106

Laser-assisted Production of Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) Electrodes: A Comparative Study between Rapid Prototyping by Selective Laser Sintering and Laser Surface Cladding Techniques
F. Lusquiños, University of Vigo; Vigo Spain
R. Comesaña, University De Vigo; Vigo Spain
J. del Val, University of Vigo; Vigo Spain
V. Ventosinos, Centro Tecnologico De Automocion De Galicia (Ctag); Porrino Spain
R. Vázquez, Centro Tecnologico De Automocion De Galicia (Ctag); Porri�O Spain
A. Riveiro, University of Vigo; Vigo Spain
F. Quintero, University of Vigo; Vigo Spain
H. Santísima-Trinidad, Centro Tecnologico De Automocion De Galicia (Ctag); Porri�O Spain
J. Pou, Universidade de Vigo; Vigo Spain
Presented at ICALEO 2008

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a simple (normally one-direction feeding) and efficient process for the fabrication of complex dies or moulds. However, the electrodes employed for EDM are usually difficult to be produced, being the major cost and time-consuming part of EDM, reaching more than 50 % of the total machining cost. The processes of rapid prototyping by laser cladding with lateral powder injection and by selective laser sintering were considered in this work to fabricate EDM electrodes. The electrodischarge machining electrodes requirements are high metal removal rate, high wear resistance and a good surface finish. Moreover, the application of rapid prototyping leads to reduction in the electrode production time, being helpful to decrease the overall processing costs of the well established electrodischarge machining process, and also allows manufacturing electrodes with complex geometry. Copper matrix composite electrodes were produced by Nd:YAG, CO2 , and fiber laser. The results obtained with both rapid prototyping techniques were characterized and compared in terms of geometry accuracy, microstructure, hardness and composition by means of interferometric profilometry, nanoindentation, electron scanning microscopy , energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-Ray diffraction. In addition, the relationships between the processing parameters and the produced electrodes working properties were studied.

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