This paper introduces the Gas Metal Arc Welding process with deposition shape control to solid freeform fabrication for large sculpted metal objects and rapid tooling of molds and dies. Besides full density and toughness properties, GMAW deposition must ensure near-net-shape surface geometry. To this end, an analytical model of deposited morphology is derived, based on linearized superposition of ellipsoidal unit deposition globules. The time-varying parameters of these primitives are identified in-process using laser scanning measurements of the bead width. An experimental description of width on the GMAW inputs is also established. On this basis, bead width control through the wire feed is implemented in real time, using Smith prediction to cope with sensor delays, and feedforward to compensate for the predeposited terrain. This controller was validated in the laboratory, in stainless steel deposition in single and overlaid beads.

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