Knowledge Center

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING FOR PRODUCTION

Build Preparation and Parameters

3D printing differs from machining in that the material properties of a printed part are created in process, along with its geometry. The 3D printing process itself determines the microstructure of the plastic filament, resin, metal powder or wire that builds up the part, which may be further affected by post processing. Choices made in preparing the print such as build orientation, nozzle temperature or laser power influence properties such as layer adhesion and part density in addition to geometric accuracy. The wrong setup can lead to failure, either in the build itself or of the final part.

While machine monitoring can help catch unanticipated problems in process, many manufacturers rely on build simulation to check parameters and identify errors before they happen. The video below discusses the use of a process simulation tool that allows users to check for issues with build orientation, distortion and laser pathways before printing.

The variety possible in 3D printer parameters is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity. Additive manufacturers using powder bed fusion, for instance, have the ability to manipulate print speed, density and surface finish by adjusting laser power, focus and hatching (the distance between each pass of the laser). The article “Pushing Laser Powder Bed Fusion into New Realms of Productivity” details how one manufacturer (Betatype, now Alloyed) was able to significantly reduce build time and part cost for a powder bed fusion part by optimizing its print parameters.

Pushing Laser Powder Bed Fusion into New Realms of Productivity

The Betatype technology stack supports businesses looking to expand on the potential of additive manufacturing for series production through design-led thinking and unique optimization algorithms to maximize the capacity of LPBF systems.

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A Software Toolset to Minimize Metal Additive Build Failures

Three separate software tools from Siemens attempt to control some of the most challenging variables within metal AM: build orientation, distortion and deposition paths. In this video we discuss the second tool in the set: the Simcenter 3D AM Process Simulation tool.

 

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Validating Quality

There are two main challenges to ensuring quality in 3D printed parts: inspecting and validating final parts, and controlling the process itself.

Postprocessing

Most 3D printed parts will require postprocessing following the print and it is important to account for any anticipated postprocessing in the design stage.

Equipment and Safety

Facilities using metal additive manufacturing, especially those dealing with powdered metals, require a range of support equipment and safety measures.