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Additive manufacturing has recently emerged as a critical technology in various industries, from manufacturers of specialized aviation components to toymakers seeking to offer customizable designs.
FREMONT, CA: Additive Manufacturing is any technology that can create a final component by starting with a 3D CAD file and adding material layer by layer. Theoretically, Additive Manufacturing solely corresponds to the 3D part construction step. In reality, several different preprinting and post-printing processes must be examined to completely comprehend this technique, which comprises the entire Additive Manufacturing supply chain.
This post will look at the activities before and after 3D printing, giving special attention to the materials and methods required for high-quality output.
THE PREPRINTING PHASE
Suppose the field of Additive Manufacturing is confined to a single and more widely used Selective Laser Melting (SLM)—in that case, it is critical to protect the atmosphere surrounding the material along its entire supply chain. For instance, it is essential to pay close attention to the manufacturing process when considering powder manufacture as a preprinting phase. Suppose the powders were generated via an atomization process in an improper atmosphere. In that case, one might encounter oxidized powders during the printing phase, which may be particularly difficult to melt or may melt with faults in the molded component's material.
Assuming the starting point of the powders is optimal, that is, the powders have been created appropriately in terms of geometry and the absence of oxides, it is critical to managing the atmosphere inside the accretion chamber even during the 3D printing process. This is understandable, as 3D SLM printing is comparable to continuous welding, in which the fused pool must be continuously shielded with inert gas. Despite the monetization of the interface between the molten pool and the chamber environment, minute oxygen residues or minor impurities in the gas, which is not perfectly pure, can result in undesirable inclusions within the final piece, resulting in unacceptable colors and deteriorated mechanical performance in subsequent uses.
THE POST-PRINTING PHASE
Following 3D printing, the majority of materials that can be manufactured using SLM technology require heat treatment. This heat treatment can be de-tensioning (to alleviate the majority of the internal stresses that have built up in the material during the printing step) or another type (to try to optimize the mechanical properties of the component according to its specific application).
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