Fabrication of X-Graded H13 and Cu Powder Mix Using High Power Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser
The manufacturing of Functionally Graded Material (FGM) parts using Solid Free Form manufacturing technologies has been carried out since early 1980. At present, most of the powder manufacturing techniques are being focused on layering powder with different powder blend compositions with Z gradients (graded in direction of layer build). Although, there are a few researchers working on multi powder feeder and deposition system, the study of laser fusion of the deposited powder (by a powder deposition system) is minimum or not known to date. Consequently, the manufacturing of functionally graded structures is still geometry limited. This work was focused on the manufacturing of X-graded (graded along the powder bed plane) specimens with H13 tool steel and Cu mix. Five bimodal powder blends were used with a multi-container feed hopper to spread powder layers for the selective laser fusion of the powder. The powder was fused using a high power Nd:YAG pulsed laser using a specific scanning strategy to reduce porosity. Specimens were produced with graded Cu within the H13 matrix. The specimens were analysed for dimensional accuracy, microstructure, porosity, cracks and micro hardness of the FGM.