An RMIT PhD candidate has won the Young Defence Innovator Award for a project demonstrating that 3D printed steel cutting tools suitable for machining titanium parts.
A statement from RMIT said Jimmy Toton’s project – undertaken in collaboration with the Defence Materials Technology Centre and Sutton Tools – was “the first convincing demonstration of 3D printed steel tools that can cut titanium alloys as well as, or in some cases better than, conventional steel tools.”
Defence projects use high-strength steels, which can be tough on tools. The DMTC’s CEO Dr Mark Hodge explained that, “The costs of drills, milling cutters and other tooling over the life of major Defence equipment contracts can run into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. This project opens the way to making these high-performing tools cheaper and faster, here in Australia.”
Toton (pictured) produced the steel milling cutter tools using laser a metal deposition process at RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct. He received his award at the Avalon International Airshow this week, along with a prize of $15,000.
He said Australian manufacturers needed to make use of new technologies to offer competitive solutions for global supply chains.
“There is real opportunity now to be leading with this technology,” he added.