A CAD-Based Workflow and Mechanical Characterization for Additive Manufacturing of Tailored Lattice Structures
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Lattice structures are highly recommended for lightweight applications and cost reduction in additive manufacturing (AM). Currently, parts with lattice structures are still mainly used for illustrative purposes and rarely in industrial products. One important reason is that, due to their high dependency on macro- and micro-geometry, the mechanical properties of manufactured structures are difficult to predict. Thus, even and precise struts are needed. In this paper, a workflow for fabrication of lattice structures with strut-diameters from 150 µm to 400 µm on commercial laser beam melting (LBM) systems is presented. Based on a CAD-integrated user-interface for lattice design, a customized slicing algorithm determines database-aided suitable exposure parameters which ensure that the properties of the manufactured struts will just be as specified upon design. Subsequently, compression tests are performed in order to verify the established workflow. The developed tool enables designers to integrate AM-specific geometries into their components with little specific experience in AM.