Get to Know Aheadd® CP1: The Next Generation of Aluminum Alloys

by | May 2, 2023 | Blog

In Formula 1 racing you need every advantage you can get to cross the finish line first. It’s a sport that combines peak human performance with cutting edge engineering to generate heart pounding excitement. For metal additive manufacturing (AM) solution providers, giving engineers and drivers an edge is both a goal and challenge.

Introducing Ahead® CP1

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body over Formula 1 and other global motorsports, recently approved a new aluminum for the 2024 season: Aheadd® CP1 alloy.

CP1 is a high-performance, aluminum-iron-zirconium solution that is designed specifically for AM without volatile elements, rare earths, silicon, or ceramic particle additions.

This effort was largely driven by one of Velo3D’s Australia-based contract manufacturing network companies, PWR, who work with professional motorsports teams to provide them with finished, tested, ready-to-use heat exchangers.

It is important to note that when you develop alloys for metal 3D printing, engineers need to consider the powder, processing, and the post processing. Constellium, a global leader in value-added aluminum products has released CP1 with a holistic view of AM, designing a powder that will simplify the entire workflow for manufacturers.

Simplified LPBF processing with Ahead CP1

During Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) processing, parts print by adding layer after layer of powder. On each of these layers, the printer draws a two-dimensional ‘slice’ of the part. After all layers are complete, engineers can extract the full three-dimensional part.

CP1 aluminum provides the opportunity for lower production cost by enabling process engineers to vary the thickness of these layers. By printing with thicker layers, we can reduce the number of layers and therefore speed up the process.

For example: a part printed at a 100 um process will need half the layers of the same part printed with a 50 um process. Cost is not everything however, and some parts will still need the precision of a 50 µm process. So, to give customers the ability to achieve both, we will launch with both 50 µm and 100 µm processes.

The heat treatment benefits of Ahead CP1

Aheadd CP1 alloy also simplifies the heat treatment.  Some 3D printed aluminum alloys can be tricky to control during heat treatments.  Small deviations in the process can yield large impacts to the material properties leading to variability in the final performance of the part.  Our intent is to limit that variability and to produce the same properties and geometric accuracy every time.

By simplifying the heat treatment for CP1 aluminum to four hours at 400 degrees Celsius, Constellium has done just that. The alloy is customizable by altering the heat treatment, but this simplified approach makes manufacturing parts in this alloy less complicated and more consistent.

A milestone for Velo3D in Europe

CP1 is the first alloy released by our European Technology Center in Augsburg Germany.  Our expanding list of European customers, contract manufacturing partners, technical partners, and the technology center all play a role in demonstrating Velo3D growth in Europe.

Unlocking new possibilities with Velo3D and Aheadd CP1

At Velo3D, we’re dedicated to expanding metal AM adoption and qualifying new alloys that open the design window for engineers and industries. That’s why we’re excited to announce Aheadd CP1 for use across our Sapphire family of metal 3D printers.

Aheadd CP1 is an ideal choice for a wide range of AM applications, including aerospace, automotive and motor sport, defense, satellite, semiconductor, and transportation. The material joins a growing contingent of qualified materials that help create scalable solutions for metal AM materials.

For more information about Aheadd CP1 contact our engineering team.

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About the Author

Michael Rogerson

Sr. Director of Product Marketing

Mike, Velo3D's Sr. Director of Product Marketing, has over 20 years of experience in the semiconductor, solar, and metal additive manufacturing industries. His background includes over 10 years at Applied Materials and 9 years working on leading solar technologies at MiaSole, NanoSolar, and SolarEdge.