Additive Manufacturing

JAN 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 43

JANUARY 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / Metal Additive Manufacturing 22 By Peter Zelinski A Colorado alliance is mapping the formula for successful metal AM. The aim is to know the right parameters for every new build from the beginning, eliminating trial and error. The problem is the number of potential variables. The answer is machine learning. Where AM Meets AI The ADAPT Center at the Colorado School of Mines is a research facility housing at least $6 million worth of technolo- gy that is being dedicated toward realizing the full promise of additive manufacturing. And that technology includes precisely zero additive manufacturing machines. Machines are missing because printing parts is not the challenge the industry supporters of the ADAPT Center face. ADAPT is the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies, a Colorado-based partnership of businesses together with academic and public institutions all cooperating to advance AM. Printing parts is something the individual members of ADAPT already know how to do—they either have the capability or have access to it. Instead, the center employs technology such as fractography, X-ray diffractometry, tensile testing and computed tomogra- phy. Rather than printing parts, the capabilities of the center recognize that perhaps the greatest challenge standing in the way of the advance of additive relates to understanding just what is going on inside those parts that have been 3D-printed. And this is a big challenge. AM is a manufacturing process like no other, because in an additive build, both the part's outer geometric form and its internal material structure are created at the same time. In powder-bed fusion of a metal part, while the form is controlled by the path and intensity of the laser, the design of the support structures, the orientation of the part and various other factors, the list of variables potentially affecting the material structure—or affecting both outcomes simultane- ously—is even more extensive. Branden Kappes co-directs the ADAPT Center along with Aaron Stebner. When he tried to name just some of the variables germane to an additive build, he rattled off a list that taxed both his memory and breath. The form, material properties and integrity of a given metal part produced in a powder-bed process are potentially affected by, Kappes says, "Laser power, laser speed, laser Each of the different cylinders in this Inconel 718 test build was printed with a different set of parameters. The orientation angle is simply the one parameter difference that is visible from cylinder to cylinder. All these tiny parts will be microscopically analyzed, with the input parameters and output measurements together providing data for machine learning.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Additive Manufacturing - JAN 2018