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Metal 3D Printing Roughness Reduced by 80% Using Dual Laser Technique

Metal 3D Printing Roughness Reduced by 80% Using Dual Laser Technique

Written by Paul

December 28, 2020

Lars Vanmunster, a student at KU Leuven, has developed a process for refining the surface finish of metal parts 3D printed using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). The technique relies on the application of a second, pulsed laser to reduce roughness by 80 percent. The project was so inspired that it resulted in award granted to Vanmunster’s work.

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Due to the spattering of powder particles during the print process, small bumps form on parts that result in a rough finish . In turn, the part must be removed from the printer and finished using such techniques as grinding and polishing. While in some cases, such as orthopedic implants , a rough surface may be beneficial, this is not the case for the majority of parts that must be further processed upon printing to meet final specifications. This post-processing is time intensive and costly and, in some cases, can be the factor that makes or breaks the decision to use 3D printing for a given component.

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A variety of methods have been developed to address surface finish of metal parts during the build process. These include mechanical machining, laser ablation and etching, electrochemical machining and more. Among the […]

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