Wet-Chemical Support Removal for Additive Manufactured Metal Parts




Schmithüsen, T.
Scleifenbaum, Johannes Henrich

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University of Texas at Austin


The additive manufacturing technology laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) offers great flexibility regarding the manufacturing of complex component structures. Due to the process, support structures have to be manufactured for overhanging component surfaces in order to guarantee dimensional accuracy and reduce distortion. However, these must be removed after manufacturing. Especially for internally supported component surfaces, removal is only possible by means of tool-free technologies. A promising approach for a tool-free support removal is the wet-chemical ablation, in which the support structures are removed by chemical dissolution. So far, the approach has been tested for a few materials (e.g. stainless steel). In order to extend the use of this automatable approach to further AM materials, the influence of different etching agents on different additive aluminium alloys with regard to material ablation and surface influence will be investigated. Finally, the applicability of the results to a supported component will be tested.


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