Truss-Type Support Structures for SLM

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Subedi, Subodh C.
Thoma, Dan J.
Suresh, Krishnan

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University of Texas at Austin


Support structures are critical in selective laser melting (SLM) of 3D metal additively manufactured components. Besides providing structural support, they serve as conduits for efficient heat dissipation. Support structures heavily influence the printability of a part as well as its physical and mechanical properties. Commonly used thin walled surface support structures are reliable, but are difficult to optimize, post-process, and often entrap a significant amount of powder. This paper presents the concept of truss-type surface support structures for SLM to address these challenges. The proposed structures are easy to optimize and provide better anchorage; further, they do not entrap powder, and are easy to remove. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of these designs over commonly used support structures, paving a path towards optimal support structure design for SLM.


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