Surface Roughness Optimized Alignment of Parts for Additive Manufacturing Processes

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Delfs, P.
Töws, M.
Schmid, H.-J.

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University of Texas at Austin


The layered structure of Additive Manufacturing processes results in a stair-stepping effect of the surface topographies. In general the impact of this effect strongly depends on the build angle of a surface, whereas the overall surface roughness is caused by the resolution of the specific AM process. The aim of this work is the prediction of the surface quality in dependence of the building orientation of a part. These results can finally be used to optimize the orientation to get a desired surface quality. As not every area of a part can be optimized, a predetermination of areas can be used to improve the surface quality of important areas. The model uses the digital STL format of a part as this is necessary for all AM machines to build it. Each triangle is assigned with a roughness value and by testing different orientations the best one can be found. This approach needs a database for the surface qualities. This must be done separately for each Additive Manufacturing process and is shown exemplary with a surface topography simulation for the laser sintering process.


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