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Torch End-Effector and TIG Electrode Changeout Design for a TIG Welding Robot Used in Metal Big Area Additive Manufacturing

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher Masuo, Andrzej Nycz, Mark W. Noakes

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, TN

Jared Bell, Justin Killian, Chandler Oakley, William R. Hamel

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Paper No. IMECE2018-86726, pp. V002T02A094; 8 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 9–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5201-9
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Metal Big Area Additive Manufacturing (mBAAM) is a promising approach to large-scale metal additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing. The mBAAM system uses an arc-based wire-fed welding robot to build metal parts. A multi-degree-of-freedom robotic arm is known for its extensive range of motion and reliable tool handling. Attaching a torch end-effector to a robotic arm gives it welding capabilities; however, this decreases the motion range and dynamics of the robot. As a result, build volume and printing accuracy are decreased. Additionally, only a portion of time is spent printing in an arc-based process. Maintenance leads to downtime on the system. In a tungsten inert gas (TIG)-based process, the torch electrode wears out over time and must be changed to avoid defective deposition. This paper proposes an approach for a compact torch end-effector to improve the robot’s build volume. This paper also proposes an approach to reducing non-printing process time by designing and implementing a semi-automated electrode changing system.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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