Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing

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This is 3D printing using the deposition of metal with MIG welders using standard MIG wire and automated computer controlled motion systems..


  • This is a 3D Printing Method similar to Plastic FDM, but using Metal wire with a MIG welder.
  • MIG welder is fast and cost effective for additive manufacturing of complex geometries.
  • The heat source can be a welder, a laser, or an electric arc typically

OSE Context

Wire arc allows low feestock cost 3D metal printing of large parts. A spool of MIG wire is $1.15/lb in bulk -[1]. This is relevant to 3D printing towers for wind turbines, see 3D Printed Windmill Tower, or 3D printing entire tractor frames.

Mig Welder Mod Calculations

Cost of shielding gas is $9/8 hour shift, about $1/hour. Deposition rates go up to 20 lb per hour. See Welding Deposition Rate. This means one spool is used up per 2 hours. $46 in metal, $2 in gas. So about 4% is shielding gas.

Examples/Industry Standards

  • Cranfield University is doing work on WAAM. Largest printed part - 6 meters long, 300lb, plain aluminum - [2]
  • See their presentation - good insight - [3]
  • They are making real structural parts.

See Also

Useful Links

  • Laser + TIG setup? - https://www.addere.com/addere-i
  • Electron beam and laser beam can be used - [4]
  • Is hot wire TIG used for 3D printing?
  • TIG additive - Korea - [5]
  • Paper on cold and hot wire TIG - [6]
  • RepRap metal printer with TIG - [7]
  • StrongPrint TIG with wire feed - [8]
  • Review paper on Wire Arc Additive Mfg - WAAM - "The paper concludes that WAAM is a promising alternative to traditional subtractive manufacturing for fabricating large expensive metal components. [9]
  • Companies producing cold weld spray 3d printing - [10]
  • Metal arc from Prodways? - [11]. They call it forging, but it appears to be simple welding with shielding gas (GMAW)
  • WAAM article - [12]