Process Scaling and Transient Melt Pool Size Control in Laser-Based Additive Manufacturing Processes

Birnbaum, Andrew
Aggarangsi, Pruk
Beuth, Jack
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This modeling research considers two issues related to the control of melt pool size in laser-based additive manufacturing processes. First, the problem of process size scale is considered, with the goal of applying knowledge developed at one processing size scale (e.g. the LENSTM process, using a 500 watt laser) to similar processes operating at larger scales (e.g. a 3 kilowatt system under development at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology). The second problem considered is the transient behavior of melt pool size due to a step change in laser power or velocity. Its primary application is to dynamic feedback control of melt pool size by thermal imaging techniques, where model results specify power or velocity changes needed to rapidly achieve a desired melt pool size. Both of these issues are addressed via a process map approach developed by the authors and co-workers. This approach collapses results from a large number of simulations over the full range of practical process variables into plots process engineers can easily use.