Dimensional accuracy of Electron Beam Melting (EBM) additive manufacture with regard to weight optimized truss structures

C. J. Smith, F. Derguti, E. Hernandez Nava, M. Thomas, S. Tammas-Williams, S. Gulizia, D. Fraser, I. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Electron Beam (EBM) additive manufacturing process is well suited to fabricating complex structural designs in Ti-6Al-4V because of the design freedoms it offers combined with strong and consistent material properties. However it has been observed that complications may arise when manufacturing truss-like structures (such as those produced via structural topology optimization) in the form of undersized features on the finished part. The issue appears to affect truss members that are not aligned with the vertical build direction, with an apparent lack of material on the negative surfaces. This effect appears to worsen with a greater angle between the truss member and the build direction, even with the use of support structures. This investigation has characterized and measured the dimensional errors that result from this issue through 3D scanning techniques. Process modifications have then been made which result in significant improvements in dimensional accuracy. This investigation highlights the importance of heat management at features with negative surfaces to yield parts that are dimensionally accurate without introducing excessive internal melt defects in the form of voids and porosity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Processing Technology
Volume229
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Arcam
  • Laser scanning
  • Titanium
  • Topology optimization
  • Truss structures
  • X-ray tomography

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