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Net Shape Manufacturing

There is an increasing need for more complex, higher performing products at lower cost, particularly in the high value manufacturing sectors. Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) and Machining Technologies are two tools that can deliver these high performance products at an affordable cost and with short lead-time.

The ALM team, headed up by Dr Greg Gibbons, conducts research into both the exploitation and development of ALM (3D Printing) technologies to provide real world solutions to industry. ALM enables the resource efficient manufacture of products, offering significant time and cost savings and increased product functionality through complexity of design, and multi-material functionality.

The Machining Research team headed by Professor Stuart Barnes has experience in all classes of cutting tool materials from high-speed-steel to polycrystalline diamond. The excellent facilities available in WMG (machining centres and analytical equipment) enables the machining characteristics of workpiece materials, cutting tools and cutting fluids to be precisely determined.

Current Projects

AirPROM (Airway Disease Predicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling)

Ultra-Low-Cost Additive Layer Manufacturing in Healthcare

ALM of Nickel-Based Superalloy Metal Matrix Composites

HiPAdd: Formulation of high performance additives for metalworking fluids


The ALM team has a strong background in research, development and technology transfer of ALM, Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Tooling technologies into many sectors, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare and defence. Facilities include:

  • Connex 260 multi-material 3D printer: Enables the manufacture of polymeric components and assemblies with multi-functionality.
  • Fortus 400mc ALM system: Capable of manufacturing large-scale components in a range of thermoplastics, including high HDT polymer.
  • ZPrinter 450 colour 3D Printer: Provides the capability to print full-colour 3D models and assemblies.

WMG has always been involved in machining research. Over the years research work has been carried out for a wide variety of organisations involving the machining of a wide range of metallic and some non-metallic materials.

WMG’s partnership with DMG / MORI SEIKI ensures that the machining facilities always represent the state-of-the-art in machining technology and the capability has been significantly extended with the recent acquisition of the Ultrasonic 65 Monoblock machine which will provide ultrasonic and ultrasonic assisted machining capability. A DMC 1035 V ecoline and DMU 40 eVo linear system are also available.

Other key facilities include:

  • Kistler dynamometer for precise measurement of cutting forces
  • Optical and scanning electron microscopy facilities available for the accurate measurement and characterisation of tool wear.

See full details of the technical equipment we have available.

Key Publications

Additive manufacturing for product improvement at Red Bull Technology
Materials & Design
Cooper, David E., Stanford, Mark, Kibble, Kevin A. and Gibbons, Gregory John

3D printing of cement composites
Advances in Applied Ceramics
Gibbons, Gregory John, Williams, Reuben, Purnell, Phil and Farahi, Elham

Experimental Analysis of Tool Wear When Drilling Carbon Fibre Composite (CFC) Without Cutting Fluid, With Cutting Fluid and With A Pre-Cryogenically Cooled Tool
2nd Int. Conf. on Advance Materials Design and Mechanics (ICAMDM2013)
Barnes, Stuart, Dahnel, A. N. and Bhudwannachai, Pipat

Drilling Performance of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Epoxy Composite when Machining Dry, with Conventional Cutting Fluid and with a Cryogenically Cooled Tool (under review)
Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE13)
Barnes, S., Bhudwannachai, P. and Dahnel, A. N.

Media and Press

See WMG in the Media for additional press coverage.