Design the support structures for easy removal of un-melted powder in metal additive manufacturing
Abstract: Powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM) is one of the most important and widespread AM processes. In this process the electron or laser beam is used to selectively sintering or melting of the speared layer powder. The support structures is used in this process to support the overhang structures and prevent the deformations, however the addition of support structures represents an obstacle to removing the un-melted(sintered) powder under the overhang structure. The unmelted powder hide behind the support structures walls which result in material waste and environmental effects. The powder removal is a critical aspect to take into account when design the part and the support structures. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of support structure design parameters on the un-melted powder removal of the electron beam melting (EBM) overhang structures. The parts are design with different support structures design parameters and fabricated using EBM and the powder removing is evaluated. The results showed that it possible to optimize the powder removal through optimization the support structures design parameters.