skip to primary navigationskip to content

Novel 3D printing technique for metal components using multiple energy beams.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) applied to the production of metal components by the melting of metal powders rely on expensive and lengthy methods. Well established technologies using Electron Beam (EBM) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) currently steer a single or a limited number of beams to raster scan a bed of powder. These methodologies are relatively slow and expensive compared to other manufacturing techniques, and have limitations regarding the output rate of powder melting. Even though they are continuously increasing their performance they still offer an increased throughput at a high cost requiring multi-stage processing

Student

Diego Punin

Supervisor

Professor Bill O'Neill

Advisor

Dr Martin Sparkes

Introduction

Additive Manufacturing (AM) applied to the production of metal components by the melting of metal powders rely on expensive and lengthy methods. Well established technologies using Electron Beam (EBM) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) currently steer a single or a limited number of beams to raster scan a bed of powder. These methodologies are relatively slow and expensive compared to other manufacturing techniques, and have limitations regarding the output rate of powder melting.  Even though they are continuously increasing their performance they still offer an increased throughput at a high cost requiring multi-stage processing.

Aims

This project aims to develop a scalable solution using an array of multiple laser beams, potentially avoiding the need for beam steering and leading into new concepts for machine design which can be applied to a commercial platform.  The number of beams can scale up the productivity and offer a low-cost application without sacrificing the quality of the melt by operating a more efficient energy beam source, such as an array of low power laser diodes with high wall plug efficiencies.  They can potentially eliminate the need for preheating or post stress relieving required for EBM, and benefit from the active material used in the diodes which can be tuned therefore it can emit a laser beam at near the peak absorption wavelength of the powder.

Current work

A novel chamber has been developed to produce an inert atmosphere during processing and the current work involves exploring new melting strategies for stainless steel 316T. By using fine control of laser energy delivery, we are developing a greater understanding of the influence of pre-heating on melt production, residual stress, and microstructure.

Future work

The future work includes the compilation of a series of parameters outlining the processing windows used for austenitic stainless steel.  Once these parameters have been established, an optimization stage will follow providing the most suitable processing conditions at higher rates.  A further task will be adapting the system to process Titanium using the new atmospheric controlled chamber and to condition the processing windows to this new material.   Finally, the work will target the validation of the technology for its application into a commercial platform.

SS316T - Structure

Single-layer

Multi-layer

 

 

 

Filed under: