Cutting large lumps of aerospace-grade metals can be hard work. So GE has developed a tool called Blue Arc which uses a high-speed beam of electrons to cut through titanium alloy 15 times faster than other techniques. The problem with working with exotic new metals is that they're tougher than the metals that can be used to cut them. High-pressure water and laser cutters can help, but they generate a lot of heat — which can deform the material that's being cut.
Instead, Blue Arc focuses electrons to erode and remove metal without generating as much heat. The tool can cut through a slab of aerospace-grade titanium alloy in three minutes, whereas the conventional alternative approaches take 45 minutes.
It's already being used by GE to cut Inconel and titanium jet engine parts. Probably best to avoid getting your hand in its way.
Images by GE Global Research