Effects of Particle Size Distribution on Surface Finish of Selective Laser Melting Parts

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Lim, J.H.
Khan, N.A.

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University of Texas at Austin


Metal parts produced by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) usually exhibit poor surface finish compared to conventional manufacturing processes. There is a growing need for parts to have good surface quality in the as-built condition to minimise post-processing costs and reduce lead time. There are many studies done on the effects of processing parameters on surface finish but very little on the influence of powder characteristics. This study aims to investigate the effects of Particle Size Distribution (PSD) on surface finish of AM parts by printing coupons with Inconel 625 powders of varying PSD. It was found that roughness of internal surfaces was mainly caused by the presence of partially sintered particles. Whilst a smaller particle mean size and wider particle size range are preferred for better surface finish, a powder that is too fine may result in poor flowability affecting its processability in terms of layering and powder bed quality.


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