Simulation of the Laser-Powder Bed Fusion Process for Determining the Effects of Part-to-Substrate Location and Orientation on Distortion in a Connecting Rod

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Weinhold, Benjamin
Heck, Blake
Albright, Ashton
Wang, Keran
Grote, Jon-Michael
Adeniji, Emmanuel
Masoomi, Mohammad
Thompson, Scott

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University of Texas at Austin


The use of process simulation for designing parts and ensuring their effective additive manufacture can result in reduced product development times which would otherwise require costly trial-and-error manufacturing and testing experiments. The goal of this project was to determine the effects of part-to-substrate location and part build orientation on final part quality as measured via distortion. A connecting rod from an engine was selected for re-design for mass reduction and additive manufacturing via laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). The rod was modeled and optimized using the topology optimization features of ANSYS® Workbench. A mass reduction of ~44% was achieved and unique design features were revealed. After topology optimization, the L-PBF process was simulated using the ANSYS Workbench Additive Wizard while having the optimized rod in three separate orientations at two different substrate locations. In all cases investigated, build orientation proved to have a more significant impact on distortion than substrate location. The effect of over supporting the part for distortion control can be investigated further to circumvent location/orientation dependencies.


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