Control Methods for the Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication Process
Engineering a closed-loop control system for an electron beam welder for additive manufacturing is challenging. For earth and space based applications, components must work in a vacuum and optical components must be protected from becoming occluded with metal vapor. For extraterrestrial applications added components increase launch weight and increase complexity. Here we present three different control methods for electron beam free form fabrication. A relatively simple coarse feedback control method is introduced that couples path planning and electron beam parameter controls into the build process to increase flexibility and improve build quality. The different approaches may be applied separately or together to provide enhanced EBF3 system performance.