Research Papers

Mask-Less Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing: A Feasibility Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Murali M. Sundaram

Department of Mechanical
and Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
598 Rhodes Hall,
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0072
e-mail: murali.sundaram@uc.edu

Abishek B. Kamaraj

Department of Mechanical
and Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
634 Rhodes Hall,
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0072
e-mail: balsamak@mail.uc.edu

Varun S. Kumar

Department of Mechanical
and Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
634 Rhodes Hall,
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0072
e-mail: sharanvn@mail.uc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received April 15, 2014; final manuscript received October 29, 2014; published online December 12, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Joseph Beaman.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 137(2), 021006 (Apr 01, 2015) (9 pages) Paper No: MANU-14-1203; doi: 10.1115/1.4029022 History: Received April 15, 2014; Revised October 29, 2014; Online December 12, 2014

Additive manufacturing (AM) of metallic structures by laser based layered manufacturing processes involve thermal damages. In this work, the feasibility of mask-less electrochemical deposition as a nonthermal metallic AM process has been studied. Layer by layer localized electrochemical deposition using a microtool tip has been performed to manufacture nickel microstructures. Three-dimensional free hanging structures with about 600 μm height and 600 μm overhang are manufactured to establish the process capability. An inhouse built CNC system was integrated in this study with an electrochemical cell to achieve 30 layers thick microparts in about 5 h by AM directly from STL files generated from corresponding CAD models. The layer thickness achieved in this process was about 10 μm and the minimum feature size depends on the tool width. Simulation studies of electrochemical deposition performed to understand the pulse wave characteristics and their effects on the localization of the deposits.

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Fig. 1

Approach followed to achieve mask-less ECAM

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Fig. 2

(Left) schematic of ECAM setup (right) in-house built micro-CNC stage and AM center

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Fig. 3

Overall ECAM process schematic

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Fig. 4

Electrical equivalent circuit for the deposition

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Fig. 5

Comparison of simulated and experimentally measured voltage characteristics during electrochemical deposition

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Fig. 6

Comparison of deposition times for varying applied voltage, interelectrode gap, and duty cycle

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Fig. 7

Cross-sectional view of the various outcomes of ECAM process

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Fig. 8

3D free hanging nickel microstructures built using two different control mechanisms for the tool motion

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Fig. 9

Scanning electron micrograph of the 7 deposited at a 60 deg tilt

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Fig. 10

Optical image and the profilometer scan of the line deposit

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Fig. 11

Optical microscope image of U shaped geometry and profilometer scan

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Fig. 12

Dimensions of the UC shaped geometry

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Fig. 13

Optical microscope image of UC shaped geometry and profilometer scan

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Fig. 14

Screenshot of the Mach3 window

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Fig. 15

(Left) part model and (right) the two layer deposit of the part

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Fig 16

(a) CAD model of letter “C” to be manufactured in 30 layers and (b) SEM image of electrochemically additive manufactured part



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