Metal Powder 3D Printing Guide (US)

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Addressing metal-only technologies, the co-authors (Adeline Riou of Aubert & Duval and Claus Aumund-Kopp of Fraunhofer IFAM) discuss laser-beam melting, electron-beam melting, binder-jetting and directed energy deposition systems, citing examples from such manufacturers as Arcam, Concept Laser, Digital Metal, EOS, ExOne, Renishaw, SLM Solutions, Optomec, Trumpf and more.

Striking a balance between overview and technical details, “Introduction to Additive Manufacturing Technology: A Guide for Designers and Engineers” (epma.com/epma-free-publications) explains metal additive manufacturing (AM/3D printing). It comes from a working group within the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA), known as the European Additive Manufacturing Group (EuroAM). Addressing metal-only technologies, the co-authors (Adeline Riou of Aubert & Duval and Claus Aumund-Kopp of Fraunhofer IFAM) discuss laser-beam melting, electron-beam melting, binder-jetting and directed energy deposition systems, citing examples from such manufacturers as Arcam, Concept Laser, Digital Metal, EOS, ExOne, Renishaw, SLM Solutions, Optomec, Trumpf and more.

The report also presents the bigger picture, including all steps involved in the full manufacturing process. Successful metal AM requires 3D CAD modeling, creating 3D printable files, repairing files to close holes and clarify facet layouts, the layered-manufacturing process and a variety of possible post-build steps. Post-processing in particular can be costly and time-consuming, and each of the previous steps greatly influences this final phase of production.

The guide includes 10 pages covering powder manufacturing processes (gas atomization and vacuum-based gas atomization, plus plasma and other approaches) and powder characterization. Because each AM process depends on having the right type of powder, understanding how to specify such defining parameters as maximum particle-diameter, particle size distribution (PSD), chemical composition and trace elements is important.

The report explains the importance of such attributes as minimum wall thickness, minimum hole diameter, maximum arch radius and minimum gap distance, as well as the influence of part orientation and support structures. It also examines the topic of functional design optimization for AM parts, with its associated trade-offs.

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7 First Steps to Design for Additive Manufacturing

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