Research Papers

Easy-To-Remove Composite Support Material and Procedure in Additive Manufacturing of Metallic Components Using Multiple Material Laser-Based Powder Bed Fusion

[+] Author and Article Information
Chao Wei

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: chao.wei@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Yuan-Hui Chueh

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: yuan-hui.chueh@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Xiaoji Zhang

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: xiaoji.zhang@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Yihe Huang

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: Yihe.Huang@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Qian Chen

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: qian.chen-6@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Lin Li

Laser Processing Research Centre,
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
e-mail: lin.li@manchester.ac.uk

1Corresponding authors.

Manuscript received November 18, 2018; final manuscript received April 15, 2019; published online May 14, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Tugrul Ozel.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 141(7), 071002 (May 14, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-18-1800; doi: 10.1115/1.4043536 History: Received November 18, 2018; Accepted April 15, 2019

Support structures are always associated with laser-based powder-bed fusion (L-PBF) processes, particularly for additive manufacturing of metallic components of complex geometry with overhang structures and for reducing component distortion. Existing L-PBF processes use the same material for both built components and support structures. Removing the metallic support structures from L-PBF fabricated components by the traditional post-treatment method is difficult and time-consuming. This paper demonstrates an easy-to-remove composite support material and related processing procedures in an L-PBF process. For additive manufacturing of 316L components, a SiC-316L composite was developed as a support material. This is combined with hybrid powder-bed and point-to-point selective powder deposition for the additive manufacturing of the components. A specific experimental multiple material L-PBF system was developed and employed to produce 316L components with SiC-316L composite as support structures successfully. An interfacial grid structure using 316L steel was used to avoid component contamination and inferior surface roughness of the 316L component. The experimental results demonstrated that the SiC-316L composite with 40 vol. % 320 grit SiC was feasible to be applied as a support material for 316L stainless steel component additive manufacture in a modified PBF system.

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Fig. 1

(a) SEM micrograph of 320 grit SiC powder, (b) SEM micrograph of 316L powder, and (c) SEM micrograph of SiC-316L composite powder with 320 grit SiC powder

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of the multiple material L-PBF system

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Fig. 3

The ultrasonic vibration and miniature motor vibration hybrid powder dispensing experimental setup schematic diagram

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Fig. 4

Test specimens produced by L-PBF for density comparison (a) was made of SiC-316L composite with 25 vol. % SiC, (b) was 40 vol. %, and (c) was 50 vol. %

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Fig. 5

Optical images of the 316L/SiC composite after laser processing: (a) an optical microscopic image of the microstructure of the laser sintered specimen D3 with 25 vol. % SiC additive and (b) specimen D3 with 40 vol. % SiC. The laser processing parameters for both specimens were the same: laser power 175 W, scanning speed 800 mm/s, and hatch distance 60 μm.

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Fig. 6

Main effects plot for means of relative density

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Fig. 7

Relative densities of L-PBF processed SiC-316L specimens with increasing laser tracking overlap

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Fig. 8

The relative density of the L-PBF processed SiC-316L samples with increasing laser energy density

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Fig. 9

(a) The schematic diagram of the cross section of the sandwich sample, (b) a sample with a grid transition layer between the 316L part and SiC-316L part, and (c) the cross-sectional pattern of the transition layer

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Fig. 10

Process flow chart for L-PBF processing the components with easy–to-remove support structure [9]

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Fig. 11

(a) Optical microscopic graph of the material interface between 316L building material and SiC-316L support material, (b) a magnified view of the material interface with cavities and pores due to SiC particles falling off during the specimen grinding, and (c) an SEM image of the internal view of such cavity (Color version online.)

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Fig. 12

(a) XRD result of the bottom surface of the 316L layer near the SiC-316L composite support and (b) XRD result of the top surface of the 316L layer

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Fig. 13

(a) and (b) Microscopy images of the 316L part bottom adhered to the SiC-316L composite support structure before and after sandblasting, respectively, (c) the overall look of the sample with the grid transition layer, and (d) and (e) microscopy images of the grid lines on the bottom surface of the 316L part before and after sandblasting, respectively (Color version online.)

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Fig. 14

(a) XRD result of the 316L part bottom surface (that was in contact with the support material) after sandblasting and (b) XRD result of the grid lines on the bottom surface of the 316L part after sandblasting

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Fig. 15

(a) A bridge structure using SiC-316L as the support material at the aperture position, (b) the support structure removed, (c) a laser fused cross section of the bridge structure, and (d) the SEM image of the top surface of the laser sintered SiC-316L part (Color version online.)



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