A widely held belief in the additive manufacturing industry is that spherical powder is necessary for success. In our work, we are challenging this assumption by demonstrating irregular feed stock can meet the minimum process requirements in four key areas, namely: 1) hopper flow, 2) layer spreading, 3) laser fusion process window, and 4) de-powdering. Flow is characterized and compared to conventional powders using an FT4 Powder Rheometer. Layer spreading is evaluated via build bed density and 3D imaging of resin impregnated bed samples (ZIESS Xradia 420 CT). Laser fusion process window for fully dense parts is evaluated in a Renishaw AM 400 using our model driven approach. Powder clearing from fine channels is demonstrated through experimental investigation of printed artifacts. Our work focuses on low alloy steel powders similar to those used in the powder metallurgy industry with the aim of making this family of materials more accessible for additive part production.
- List the points where irregular powder feed stock may influence laser powder bed fusion process outcomes.
- Evaluate if irregular powder feed stocks are a good fit for their equipment.
- Evaluate if irregular powder feed stocks are a good fit for the type of geometries they wish to produce.