The WAAMpeller was a collaboration between Rotterdam Fieldlab Additive Manufacturing BV, (RAMLAB), Promarin, Damen, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas. Marine propellers are typically casted. Casting is a time consuming production method, which also requires large batches to be produced in order to be cost-efficient. Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) can be a viable alternative to casting, providing short delivery times with high material quality.
Designed for tug boats, the WAAMpeller includes 298 layers of Nickel Aluminium bronze alloy. The WAAMpeller was 3D printed using WAAM, which is a low-cost, large-scale 3D metal printing method. WAAM requires a robotic arm coupled with a welding torch and power source, driven by special software. The material properties after printing have been tested in corrosion, strength and toughness, and were found superior to their cast equivalents.
The science behind Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing is explored in the framework of Aim2XL programme and GradWAAM project, both funded by NWO-TTW. The academic partners are TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Twente and University of Groningen.
The WAAMpeller project lasted 7 months.