Surface Characterization of Polycarbonate Parts from Selective Laser Sintering
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Surfaces of polycarbonate Selective Laser Sintering parts are investigated to determine the characteristics affecting part quality. Surfaces are obtained from experiments by varying four factors, namely, layer thickness, laser power, part orientation, and build angle. First, spatial modes on SLS surfaces are decomposed using a qualitative spectral analysis in an attempt to find their origins. Thermal modes on the top surfaces of polycarbonate SLS parts result in the other modes being obscured; melting and part curl are concluded to be the dominant modes on these surfaces. Furthermore, surface modes resulting from building the part at an angle to the powder bed are identified and modeled. Then, mathematical measures are computed for the surfaces to determine surface precision quantitatively. An analysis-of-variance study is performed to reveal the trends in surface precision with respect to control factors. Surface precision is shown to change significantly with laser power and part orientation, and trade-offs with part strength are presented.