Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering vol:136 issue:6
Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is an additive manufacturing technique in which metal products are manufactured in a layer-by-layer manner. One of the main advantages of SLM in the large geometrical design freedom. Because of the layered build, parts with inner cavities can be produced. However, complex structures, such as downfacing areas, influence the process behavior significantly. The downfacing areas can be either horizontal or inclined structures. The first part of this work describes the process parameter optimization for noncomplex, upfacing structures to obtain relative densities above 99%. In the second part of this research, parameters are optimized for downfacing areas, both horizontal and inclined. The experimental results are compared to simulations of a thermal model, which calculates the melt pool dimensions based on the material properties (such as thermal conductivity) and process parameters (such as laser power and scan speed). The simulations show a great similarity between the thermal model and the actual process.