Wire and arc additive manufacturing: a comparison between CMT and TopTIG processes applied to stainless steel


Wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) enables the building of near net-shape components layer by layer by using arc welding technologies and wire filler metal as feedstock. The study aims at comparing the applicability of two innovative robotic arc welding technologies (cold metal transfer (CMT) and TopTIG) for additive manufacturing (AM) of stainless steel parts. Initially, a process development has been completed with the goal of optimizing material deposition rate during arc time. Both continuous and pulsed current programs were implemented. Then, different thick-walled samples composed of more than one overlapped weld bead per layer were manufactured in 316L stainless steel grade by CMT and TopTIG. Mechanical properties have been determined in as-build samples in different building orientations. WAAM applying CMT and TopTIG welding technologies is analyzed in terms of part quality (defined as the absence of defects such as pores, cracks, and/or lack of fusion defects); surface finishing; part accuracy; productivity; microstructural characteristics; and mechanical properties. Achieved mechanical properties and deposition rates are compared with the state of the art. Findings and conclusions of this work are applicable to the industrial manufacturing of stainless steel parts and requirements to apply these technologies to other expensive materials are finally discussed.

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Correspondence to L. Vázquez.

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This article is part of the collection Welding, Additive Manufacturing, and Associated NDT

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Rodriguez, N., Vázquez, L., Huarte, I. et al. Wire and arc additive manufacturing: a comparison between CMT and TopTIG processes applied to stainless steel. Weld World 62, 1083–1096 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40194-018-0606-6

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  • GMA welding
  • GTA welding
  • Deposition rate
  • Stainless steels