LPBF LPBF Material and Process Development

Open your world to new materials, parts, and build rate

We are only at the beginning of what’s possible in AM. Put software in the hands of your researchers and engineers to easily create new material parameter sets and enable the printing of the seemingly impossible.

LPBF Material and Process Development

You know what you want to build. You Just need to control the laser.

With the push toward an ever expanding envelope of available materials and printable parts, end users must overcome a number of physical challenges inherent in the physics of their manufacturing process. If not addressed, these issues can limit:

  • Available materials (new materials, multi-material)
  • Printable parts (small features, thin walls, etc.)
  • Quality of parts (material homogeneity, surface profile)
  • Build rate/printer efficiency (large/multiple layer heights, cost per part)
  • Whether the process requires aids such as supports

Laser powder bed fusion machines today are optimized for a specific build volume, part class, and an assumed gas flow. The very few strategies and parameters that exist are generalized for the machine and a small number of use cases.

Conducting the geometric analysis required to solve these issues, at the resolution and scale needed for today’s machines, has traditionally been extremely difficult. Most are forced to find shortcuts or workarounds; some simply avoid or ignore the issues all together. For some, especially those within regulated industries, ignorance is not an option.

Dyndrite LPBF is unlocking machine control traditionally restricted by the machine vendor. And doing it in a way that you can apply it to complicated geometry, not just simple geometry.

For the first time, Dyndrite democratizes access to the controls so engineers, technicians, and researchers can address and overcome their unique LPBF challenges, opening the door to new materials and previously unprintable part families. Machine builders and end users can use Dyndrite to develop new processes and materials for existing machines.

These machines are often not configurable, and the built in software often limits:

  • What parts can be made, such as
  • Complex geometries
  • Intricate internal features
  • What features can be made, including:
  • extremely low print angles
  • horizontal inner diameter holes
  • high aspect ratio 
  • thin walls
  • finer surface finishes
  • Build throughput rates
  • Strategies to avoid warping within parts
  • Design freedom (without extensive DFAM)
  • Printer efficiency and build rate
  • Lase the core every Nth layer
  • Support for multi-optic systems
  • High layer height strategies
Engineering Challenges Solved

Materials & Process Development Challenges

All digital-to-physical 3D fabrication processes come with their own set of engineering challenges, that left unaddressed often leading to part expectations not being met. A significant number of these issues though can be approached using mathematical, geometric, and toolpathing control and compensation techniques.

Dyndrite’s tools enable you to marry our math, geometry and computing skills with your chemistry, physics, and mechanical skills. Dyndrite provides you the geometry and toolpathing interfaces needed to deliver the parameters and compensations that meet your desired physics model, machine capability, material ability, or part characteristic.

To view LPBF challenges and solutions, please fill out the form:
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LPBF Challenges

The LPBF manufacturing process challenges largely come from thermal management issues. Dyndrite enables you to account and compensate for the physical effects of laser-based 3D printing.

Success in LPBF depends on  balancing build rate vs material properties and physical process constraints as represented by the following energy density formula:

E
=
Si ∈ Segment
L
Vs * Hd * Zt
(Vs * Hd * Zt) = build rate, Vs := scan velocity, Hd := hatch distance, Zt := layer thickness, L := laser power
Si := Ith volumetric subsegment of layer (downskin/upskin), E := energy

It all comes down to controlling the laser properties and toolpath geometries and sorting in a deliberately specified order to have better thermal management. Too little energy leads to a lack of fusion and melt process instability. Too much energy leads to overheating, material evaporation, keyhole porosity, and distortion.

The Dyndrite LPBF software provides the tools you need to optimize the build rate, material properties, and physical process for maximal throughput and part quality.

Dyndrite allows you to design toolpaths for following challenges:

  • Inefficient laser utilization creates suboptimal build rate and final part cost
  • Sophisticated multi laser scheduling and sorting, and assignment is needed for machine efficiency. Multiple lasers need to work well together, either on
  • Lots of smaller parts
  • One large part
  • Managing stitching zones to maintain material properties
  • Variable or large layer heights and different hatch strategies based on segment type (core, upskin, downskin, etc.) for build rate. For example:
  • Skip layers with coarse hatches in the core and high laser power and speed, enable high build rate
  • Low power and and closely spaced hatches may be required near the surface to maintain surface finish
  • Path planning/trajectory planning using metadata to minimize jump times/distances
  • More accurate build time estimation
  • Melt pool instability and weld bead instability.
  • Keyhole porosity (over melting)
  • Balling (under melting, unstable weld bead)
  • Lack of fusion porosity (under melting)
  • All of the above lead to degraded part properties
  • Gasflow and lasing direction-based spatter and plume cloud formation 
  • Spatter due to lasing direction
  • Convection in the melt pool causes circulation and the gasflow shears droplets out of the melt pool causing spatter
  • When scanning upwind the spatter gets blown downwind, eliminating the need to weld over a spatter-covered surface
  • Lasing in a single direction results in anisotropic material properties
  • Gasflow differences between machines and build layouts
  • Based on angle of incidence of the laser and the part, different results are achieved
  • Different results due to angle of incidence of the laser and the part. Desirable to choose a lasing direction based on features (fine features, upskin, downskin, etc.)
  • Downskins downwind are treated differently than downskins that are upwind due to gas flow causing differences in spatter. Controlling the sort order of downskins is critical to account for this.
  • Thermal management: part and powder interactions (downskins, and upskins)
  • Heat travels differently depending on the conduction area with powder vs already welded thermal mass. The user must be able to assign different tool path parameters based on downskins or distance to the surface of the part while sorting to address conduction area constraints
  • For example print inskin first, then downskin. Then build progressively out. Start heat sink so that the energy goes into the part
  • Users wish to prevent dross, powder agglomeration, stalactites, and subsurface porosity for better material properties
  • Thermal management: thermal gradients and layer history:
  • Discontinuities in layer area can result in excessive cooling rates or heat retention
  • Low thermal gradients lead to less deformation, warping, and residual stress
  • High cooling rates tend to produce finer grains
  • Supports being required to manage distortion and thermal time history. 
  • Sophisticated laser parameters can reduce the need for the following support strategies which in turn minimize post processing/support removal:
  • Thermal heatsinks
  • Structural stiffness 
  • Backstop for the laser from a powder laser standpoint
  • Recoater issues due to distortion caused by thermal management problems 
  • When thermal gradients are not managed properly, part distortion in the z direction may occur. Such distortions may interfere with the recoater either causing damage to the recoater or part failure
  • Key material properties are:
  • Microstructure
  • Tensile Strength
  • Yield and ultimate strength of total elongation leads to fracture toughness
  • Surface Finish
  • Low Cycle fatigue
  • High Cycle fatigue
  • Fracture toughness
The key to tackling all of the above issues comes down to controlling the laser parameters (focus, power, speed), toolpath geometric parameters (see toolpathing API), and toolpath sort order based on the powder material, the layer height, gasflow, and the geometry being printed. Dyndrite LPBF allows you to address these challenges and more.
Dyndrite LPBF Features
  • Custom parameter strategy development
  • 3D Volumetric Segmentation Based on:
  • Surface Normal (Up Skin/Down Skin)
  • Distance from Surface (In Skin)
  • Z-segmentation Based on Height
  • Variable slice height and build rate controls
  • Customized Hatch vector generation controls
  • Vector sorting controls (based on gasflow, area, centroid etc.)
  • Multi-Optic strategy development
  • Inward and Outward Shelling
  • SLM, EOS, Renishaw, Aconity machine compatibility*, more coming
  • Design of Experiments Build Recipes for Fast Iteration
  • Lattice/Lightweighting

Why Dyndrite for Material and Process Development Workflow?

Imagine having full control over the process

Regardless of the process, the aim is to improve the build rate, quality of parts, types of printable parts, and/or materials by applying the correct compensations and toolpath parameters.These compensations are done by either changing laser parameters (scan velocity, focus, laser power, etc.), geometric parameters (hatch distance, offset distance, stripe width etc.), and the sort order of exposure.

Dyndrite provides you with an accessible set of  APIs that enable you to generate toolpath geometry based on where you are in the part, assign custom laser parameters to this geometry, and take fine control for what order that geometry is exposed to the laser. This enables you to make your own recipes based on geometry that can be applied on a layer-by-layer basis  - per geometry per feature or within a special area in the geometry. Dyndrite provides total control of your geometry vector process, enabling compensations that ensure successful first-time prints, higher build rates, and better quality parts.

Compensations are based on:

  • hardware (gas flow/bed conditions and part location)
  • material (powder)
  • geometry of the part itself

Hardware and material compensations are machine-level corrections for the manufacturing process and are accounted for in a qualification and calibration process. (See Qualification workflow link). These are machine settings based on the individual machine and the materials being used. For example, machines tend to be different and may need custom scaling applied to parts based on where they are located within the volume.

The compensation for the part itself requires advanced analysis of the geometry. Based on “how far inside” the part you are, and the “angle” of the nearest surface, one may want different laser and geometric toolpath parameters. For example, you may want to expose the core of a part only every 4 layers with a high hatch distance and laser power (to focus on productivity, porosity, and material properties), while exposing specific downskins every other layer with lower laser power and hatch spacing (to avoid distortion, dross, and part powder interactions), and the outer contours every layer (for desired surface finish).

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Dyndrite enables this advanced analysis via GPU accelerated volumetric segmentation. This volumetric segmentation allows us to break up any geometry into various areas of interest. We then assign different colors to each of these areas and by proxy vary laser and geometric tool path parameters. These differing colors represent an additional part-level compensation based on part features, beyond the hardware-, material-, and part location-based compensations.

Dyndrite’s volumetric segmentation and toolpathing API surpasses current layer-by-layer based Boolean toolpathing methodologies to enable advanced 3D geometric queries into the part. Volumetric 3D assignment of parameters is based on distance from upward or downward faces, or the nearest surface. 3D fields are generated, thresholded, and Booleaned to enable the assignment of different parameters within a single model using the API. The discrete zoning process allows you to develop a robust build strategy, resolving large and small features at the resolution of the machine. This enables high throughput in thicker sections, reducing the need for complex supports, and enabling new materials and special alloys. This ultimately allows you to expand the use of new materials and machines, further enabling new classes of part families.

The current 2.5D approach requires looking up and down 10+ layers at a given layer for part analysis to inform the print strategy for subsequent layers. This approach misses part features such as thin walls due to abrupt changes between layers. This approach is also unstable and error prone compared to the computationally intensive but direct 3D approach Dyndrite uses.

Dyndrite’s volumetric geometric feature detection enables users to precisely prescribe custom build recipes/process parameters to reach desired outcomes.

Example Output

Downskins, 5 distance thresholds pictured
Upskins, 5 distance thresholds pictured
Distance based inskin, 5 distance thresholds pictured

*  Machine OEMs tend to cut corners by conducting layer Booleans up to 10 layers up and down in order to determine upskin and downskin. This is in contrast to Dyndrite conducting a true volumetric analysis.

Dyndrite LPBF Product Tiers

No add-on support modules or special modules.

Dyndrite LPBF
Base

Everything you need for your LPBF machine right out of the box.

Learn More
Dyndrite LPBF
Pro

For those who have
multi-optic machines.

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Dyndrite LPBF
Enterprise

For those are developing
production manufacturing lines.

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Dyndrite is Powering the Next
Years of Digital Manufacturing

News & Resources

Stay up to date with the latest Dyndrite blog and news. Register for upcoming events. and sync with our team at industry trade shows. Learn more about Dyndrite ADK and read our case studies.