Tech Tips | MACHINING | 83
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Benjamin Fisk is general
manager, Methods 3D Inc.
Every year more materials become available
in metal additive manufacturing. The process
is already capable of producing many of
the standard alloys used across industries
including: stainless and tool steels, aluminum,
titanium, super nickel alloys, transition metals
(gold, copper, tantalum, etc). These materials
exceed cast properties, and in many cases
rival wrought properties. In addition, the ability
to modify the processing parameters with a
single aM build provides the manufacturer
with the unique ability to tailor material
properties throughout the component
and further enhance the properties and
performance of their product. SMT
aM is often portrayed as a process in which a user simply
loads a 3D model into the machine, hits the print button,
and hours later a finished part is waiting. although it is
true that the 3D equipment utilizes the 3D model as the
primary input to build the desired geometry, there are
several steps between creation of the designer’s CaD
model and achieving a successfully built component. Due
to the layer-by-layer build of the component within the
machine, there are many considerations the designer and
manufacturer must be aware of when preparing a build.
The most notable is the build orientation within the build
chamber of the machine. This orientation not only is the
XyZ location of the part, but also the rotation of the part
relative to the build plate. Since the part is built layer-by-layer on a flat plane and subsequent layers are added, it is
imperative to understand how those layers will interact and
behave during the process. Sacrificial supports are added
to the design which provide a key role in creating a high-quality, dimensionally accurate product. These supports
will provide structural support to mitigate thermal stresses,
as well as maintaining dimensional and metallurgical
accuracy. after receiving the CaD model, the manufacturer
must evaluate the best orientation to minimize support
structure, while optimizing build time and quantity of parts
within the build.
4Additive manufacturing is not a plug-and-play process
5The material capabilities for additive manufacturing are nearly endless By BEnjaMIn FISk
additive manufacturing reduces barriers for
low volume production operations.