Design for Laser Powder Bed Fusion 304

“Design for Laser Powder Bed Fusion 304” covers the basics of laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) and important considerations for L-PBF design. L-PBF is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that can build complex parts to net shape. L-PBF most commonly uses powdered metal but can also use polymers and other materials. Designers and technicians must consider details like metallurgy, machine conditions, and other important factors when producing parts with L-PBF.

After taking this course, users will understand the different L-PBF methods, selective laser sintering and selective laser melting, and how they differ. Users will also understand how software, operating conditions, materials, and other factors affect the L-PBF design process.

Class Details

Class Name:
Design for Laser Powder Bed Fusion 304
Difficulty:
Advanced
Number of Lessons:
12

Class Outline

  • L-PBF and DFAM
  • L-PBF Design and Production Software
  • L-PBF Part Production
  • L-PBF Materials
  • L-PBF Applications
  • Review: Design for L-PBF
  • L-PBF Methods
  • Material Considerations for L-PBF Operating Conditions
  • L-PBF Support Methods
  • L-PBF Post-Processing
  • L-PBF Design Advantages and Limitations
  • Review: L-PBF Design Considerations

Objectives

  • Describe DFAM and how it applies to laser powder bed fusion.
  • Describe the digital tools used for L-PBF design and production.
  • Describe a standard L-PBF production process.
  • Describe materials used in L-PBF.
  • Describe common L-PBF applications.
  • Distinguish between SLS and SLM.
  • Explain how L-PBF operating conditions affect planning and material selection.
  • Distinguish between passive and active support methods for L-PBF.
  • Describe post-processing considerations for L-PBF.
  • Describe the design advantages and disadvantages of L-PBF.

Job Roles

Certifications

Glossary

Vocabulary Term Definition
active support A method that uses support structures to support certain areas of a part during the powder bed fusion process. Active support can help control the flow of heat through certain areas of a part to prevent heat damage.
additive manufacturing AM. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object from a three-dimensional computer model. Additive manufacturing methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.
alloys A material created by intentionally mixing two or more other materials, one of which must be metal. Alloys often have the desirable mechanical and physical properties of both materials.
AM Additive manufacturing. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object from a three-dimensional computer model. AM methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.
binder A substance that holds together two or more other materials. A binder is used to hold together powdered metal to form a solid part in binder jetting additive manufacturing (AM) processes.
binder jetting An additive manufacturing (AM) method in which liquid binder is used to join powdered materials to create parts. Binder jetting can create parts out of metal, polymer, or ceramic.
biomaterials A natural material that composes a part or all of a living structure. Biomaterials, like living cells and tissues, can be used in some additive manufacturing methods.
build chamber The area contained within an additive manufacturing (AM) machine where the part is actually built. Many build chambers are enclosed to improve the safety of the manufacturing operation.
build platform The flat surface on which a part is additively manufactured. The build platform can either be a permanent machine surface from which parts are removed or a surface that can be removed from a machine once the build is complete.
build processor A type of software used in powder bed fusion (PBF) or other additive manufacturing (AM) machines that converts STL files into job files. Build processor software is usually specific to each machine.
CAD Computer-aided design. A method of designing two- and three-dimensional objects using computers and software. CAD is most often used to create part models for production.
ceramics A hard, brittle material that can withstand high temperatures and resist corrosion. Ceramic parts can be created through additive manufacturing (AM) processes such as binder jetting and selective laser sintering (SLS).
chemical resistance The ability of a material to resist chemical changes. Chemical resistance prevents gradual degradation caused by the atmosphere, moisture, or other substances.
computer numerical control CNC. A combination of software and hardware that directs the operation of a machine. CNC machines are used for subtractive manufacturing.
computer-aided design CAD. A method of designing two- and three-dimensional objects using computers and software. Computer-aided design is most often used to create part models for production.
conceptualization The process of forming an idea about a possible part or manufactured good. Conceptualization is one of the initial stages of design for manufacturing (DFM).
conformal cooling Cooling channel configurations that curve and closely correspond to a part's shape. Conformal cooling provides better heat management and helps reduce tool wear and cycle time.
design for additive manufacturing DFAM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating an additively manufactured part that functions optimally. Design for additive manufacturing allows engineers to mostly focus on part functionality.
design for manufacturing DFM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating a part that functions correctly and is easy to manufacture. Design for manufacturing, also known as design for manufacturability, involves considering part functionality and the limits of the manufacturing process.
designing The process of creating the actual specifications for a potential part. Designing involves creating the blueprints and prototypes for a part.
direct metal laser sintering DMLS. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a metal part by heating the powdered metal to just below its melting point using a laser. Direct metal laser sintering can produce complex metal parts, but they often require extensive post-processing.
directed energy deposition DED. An additive manufacturing (AM) process in which focused thermal energy is used to melt materials as they are fed or blown through a nozzle. Directed energy deposition is often used with powdered or wire metal.
DMLS Direct metal laser sintering. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part by using a laser to heat and fuse together successive layers of powdered metal. DMLS can produce complex metal parts, though they often require extensive post-processing.
ductile Able to be drawn, stretched, or formed without breaking. Ductile materials generally have low strength.
ductility The ability of a material to be drawn, stretched, or formed without breaking. Ductility is more common in softer materials.
electrical conductivity The ability of a material to convey electricity. Metals such as aluminum and copper have high levels of electrical conductivity.
end mills A milling cutter used to machine grooves, slots, pockets, and contours into workpieces. End mills have one or more flutes.
end-use Designed to be used directly by a consumer or directly in another manufactured product. End-use products created by AM include medical implants, custom dental devices, and camera equipment.
extrusion A type of additive manufacturing process where raw material is deposited from a nozzle or other application tool. Extrusion methods include fused deposition modeling and material extrusion.
finishing A final machining process that achieves the desired surface finish and tolerance for a part or component. Finishing is often performed on grinders or with cutting tools.
G code A method of programming that pairs address letters with numerical values to form words. G code programs are used in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, and hybrid machining.
generative design An advanced type of computer-aided design (CAD) that uses cloud computing and artificial intelligence to design products. Generative design software can allow engineers to innovate designs and produce alternative designs much faster than traditional CAD software.
geometry The measurement, properties, and relationships of the lines and points of an object that make up its shape. Geometry is used when measuring and designing parts.
heat resistance The ability to resist degradation when under extreme heat. Heat resistance is important for materials that will be exposed to heat on a regular basis.
heat treatment A controlled heating and cooling process used to change a material's structure and alter its physical and mechanical properties. Heat treatment often alters a material's hardness.
honeycomb structures A type structure that consists of empty cells separated from each other by a solid wall. Honeycomb structures can have square or hexagonal cells.
infiltration sintering The process of melting a filler material into part with a higher melting temperature in order to fill any empty spaces or voids in the part. Infiltration sintering is a specialized post-processing step that is sometimes used to harden and strengthen parts produced by selective laser sintering.
insulators A material or element that has little electrical conductivity and high resistance to electrical charges. Most insulators are plastics and ceramics.
interfaces A control panel and display that an operator uses to interact with and control a machine. Interfaces are unique to each additive manufacturing (AM) machine and require operator training to use.
job file A program created using build processor software that controls the functions of the laser and other parts of the powder bed fusion machine. Job file formats may be specific to each machine.
laser beam An intense beam of coherent, collimated, monochromatic light that can be precisely aimed and controlled. Laser beams are used in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) and other additive manufacturing (AM) processes.
laser powder bed fusion L-PBF. An additive manufacturing (AM) method that uses a laser to fuse or melt together layers of powdered polymer, metal, ceramic, or other material. Laser powder bed fusion processes include selective laser sintering (SLS) and selective laser melting (SLM).
lattice structures A repeating, symmetrical pattern of crossing strips of material that leaves diamond- or square-shaped gaps between them. Lattice structures provide excellent strength to a part.
L-PBF Laser powder bed fusion. An additive manufacturing (AM) method that uses a laser to fuse or melt together layers of powdered polymer, metal, ceramic, or other material. L-PBF processes include selective laser sintering (SLS) and selective laser melting (SLM).
manifolds A fluid conductor that consists of a metal block with multiple integrated channels. Manifolds are designed for use with multiple control valves or to conduct fluid in confined spaces.
mass customization The ability to quickly create a large number of uniquely designed variations on a part. Mass customization is one of the key advantages of additive manufacturing (AM) technology.
metal alloys A material created by intentionally mixing two or more other materials, one of which must be metal. Metal alloys often have the desirable mechanical and physical properties of both materials.
metal matrix composites MMC. A composite made from a metallic matrix and high-performance reinforcement materials. Metal matrix composites have high levels of strength and stiffness, and relatively high resistance to heat.
MMCs Metal matrix composite. A composite made from a metallic matrix and high-performance reinforcement materials. MMCs have high levels of strength and stiffness, and relatively high resistance to heat.
net shape A part that meets consumer or manufacturer specifications, including tolerance and surface finish, directly after it is manufactured. Net shape parts do not need any further post-processing after they are created.
nylon A semicrystalline thermoplastic that gains strength when the fibers are stretched. Nylon is a commonly used term for polyamides (PA).
oxidation A chemical reaction involving the addition of oxygen, the removal of hydrogen, or the removal of electrons from a material. Oxidation weakens and degrades a material.
passive support A method that uses the powder in the powder bed as support rather than using support structures. Passive support allows technicians to build multiple parts in a single process.
planning Assessing the ways to best create a conceptualized part. Planning is a phase in the design process that involves initial considerations of the part design and practical concerns related to the manufacturing process.
polymers A lightweight material that generally has high corrosion resistance, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and a low melting point. Polymers, or plastics, are some of the most common manufacturing materials.
porosity The presence of small spaces or voids within a solid material. Porosity in a material can potentially affect the durability of the part.
post-processing A finishing process used to clean, grind, or otherwise prepare an additive manufacturing part for shipping to a manufacturer or other consumer. Common additive manufacturing post-processing steps include removing support structures, heat treating, improving surface finish, and bringing the part into tolerance.
powder bed The area of a powder-based additive manufacturing (AM) machine that holds granulated build material and provides or holds the build platform. Powder beds are used in powder bed fusion (PBF) and binder jetting.
powder bed fusion PBF. An additive manufacturing (AM) process that uses adhesives, heat, or light to bond areas in a container of powdered polymer, metal, ceramic, or other material. Powder bed fusion processes include binder jetting, selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
powder blade A device that slides forwards and backwards over the surface of a powdered material in a powder bed. Powder blades are used in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) systems to smooth powdered material layers over top a part or build platform.
production The manufacturing of a finished part for delivery to a customer. Production is the final stage of design for manufacturing (DFM).
rapid prototyping A product development technique that uses additive manufacturing methods to create a part model. Rapid prototyping allows manufacturers to quickly create functional part models in a short time period, reducing lead time.
selective laser melting SLM. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part by using a laser to melt together successive layers of powdered materials. Selective laser melting is similar to selective laser sintering (SLS) but produces stronger and denser parts by fully melting build materials.
selective laser sintering SLS. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part by using a laser to heat and solidify layers of powdered material. Selective laser sintering produces parts that are strong and durable but usually have poor surface finish.
SLM A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part by using a laser to melt together successive layers of powdered materials. Selective laser melting is similar to selective laser sintering (SLS) but produces stronger and denser parts by fully melting build materials.
SLS Selective laser sintering. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part by using a laser to heat and solidify layers of powdered material. SLS produces parts that are strong and durable but usually have poor surface finish.
stereolithography STL. An additive-manufacturing (AM) compatible file format that represents 3D models as a series of interconnected triangles. STL files are sometimes referred to as stereolithography files, standard tessellation language files, or standard transform language files.
strength The ability of a material to resist forces that attempt to break or deform it. Increased strength can make materials more difficult to machine.
support structures A reinforcing component used to hold the weight of an additively manufactured part as it is being constructed. Support structures are removed from the part once the build is complete.
temperature gradients The rate of temperature change measured over a distance. Temperature gradients across the surface of a part during production can affect its material quality.
testing The examination of a part to ensure that it performs its intended function and that it can be satisfactorily manufactured. Testing is a design step that indicates whether the part needs additional planning or if it is ready for production.
thermal conductivity The ability of a material to transfer heat energy through it. Materials with low thermal conductivity make good heat insulators.
thermal stress Damage to a material due to excessive changes in temperature. Thermal stress can warp or distort a part.
thermoplastics A grouping of plastics that can be repeatedly reheated and re-shaped. Thermoplastics are the most commonly used plastics.
tissue engineering The use of biomaterials and other materials to rebuild biological tissues. Tissue engineering processes, which can restore tissues in the human body, can be done using some additive manufacturing (AM) methods.
tolerances An unwanted but acceptable deviation between an actual part dimension and its intended design. Tolerances are assessed during the inspection stage of manufacturing.