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Post-Machining of Additively Manufactured Ti-6Al-4V

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Ti-6Al-4V (Ti64) is a known hard-to-machine alloy due to its strength, ductility and high-temperature resistance. Despite plenty of research on machining Ti64, knowledge on machining of additively manufactured (AM) Ti64 is very limited. Selective laser sintering (SLS) and other similar technologies have been used to produce Ti64, and the produced Ti64 is known to have different microstructure, micro-defects and even residual stress compared to the wrought parts. These differences can possibly affect the machinability. Incidental tool failure during the post-machining of SLS-made Ti64 has been observed in the past. Therefore, to identify the root causes, the study compares wrought and AM Ti64 parts in terms of machining force, vibration, and temperature using custom-made techniques as well as their produced surface finish and dimensional accuracy. The experiment is conducted on a CNC lathe with a set of finish-cut parameters. The results show that AM Ti64 does not generate higher force and temperature; however, machining AM Ti64 experiences significantly high vibration across a wide range of frequencies (over 5 kHz). Tool chipping is verified in a follow-up tool wear study and is likely caused by the high vibration. However, the vibration is found not to affect surface finish or part accuracy. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the issues with machining additively manufactured titanium alloys.
  • Gain ability to conduct similar tests to assess machinability of additively made alloys.