Novel Machine and Measurement Concept for Micro Machining by Selective Laser Sintering

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Erler, M.
Streek, A.
Schulze, C.
Exner, H.

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University of Texas at Austin


Laser sintering has been established in solid freeform fabrication to produce individual micro parts and small batches. However, the achievable resolution and accuracy of this technology seems to be not sufficient to meet prospective demands in micro production, i.e. micro system technology, aerospace or innovative medical applications. As a modification of the technology, laser micro sintering (LMS) was developed to overcome this limitation. In general, the results obtained in LMS demonstrated already the high potential of this additive manufacturing process in micro production. The limited dimensions of the micro parts and even the reproducibility, due to the special process requirements regarding the applied powder particles sizes in the µm-ranges, inhibits the implementation as an industrial manufacturing process. Therefore a novel concept of setups, suitable for an industrial demand of selective laser sintering with noticeable higher resolutions has to be proven. As a first, a novel machinery setup for a high resolution selective laser sintering has been studied in this work. To achieve a sufficient repeatability of the sintering process, a new method for in-situ analyzing and measuring is implemented and allows the verification the homogeneity and thickness first: of the deposited powder layers and second: of the resulting sinter structure. As an innovative feature the measurement system has to be applied as an in-situ method for direct process controlling in a future use. Accordingly, the possibility to recognize structural defects during generation of sintered bodies are presented and comparably analyzed by cross sections of the respective specimens.


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