The ABC of Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is a process where additional material is added onto metal surfaces to create 3D structures or enhance surface quality. Common welding methods, such as beam and arc welding, can be used for additive manufacturing.

Processing lasers are generally used in laser sintering processes, where a laser beam melts a powder bed. These include selective laser melting (SLM) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).

The same lasers can be utilized for directed energy deposition, where the filler material is introduced from the process head (DED). Cold metal transfer (CMT) is typically applied in arc-based deposition due to its lower heat input compared to alternative gas metal arc welding (GMAW) methods.

Like welding processes, additive manufacturing has a relatively small area to high energy impact and emits significant amounts of thermal light. Therefore, the center of the process is exceptionally bright and presents a significant challenge for camera-based imaging systems during additive manufacturing processes.

By eliminating the process brightness, Cavitar’s CAVILUX laser illumination facilitates clear visualization of additive manufacturing processes as if they are cold processes. This is primarily due to the exceptional spectral brightness of the laser lighting combined with efficient filtering of the thermal light.

Cavitar’s solutions can be used in all arc and laser-based additive manufacturing and metal 3D printing procedures. Solutions include quality assurance in industrial production lines to high-speed image capture in research applications.

Laser Sintering – SML or DMLS

Additive manufacturing with laser and powder-bed - CAVILUX laser illumination

Video Credit: Cavitar

Advantages of laser sintering processes include:

  • Clear visibility of melt pool and surrounding area
  • Appropriate for all types of processing laser
  • Recommended product: CAVILUX HF

Directed Energy Deposition

Directed Energy Deposition in a Laser Cladding Process - Imaged with CAVILUX

Video Credit: Cavitar

Benefits of directed energy deposition include:

  • Clear view of the keyhole and added material
  • Clear overview of melt pool and surrounding area
  • Examples include carbon dioxide (CO2), neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG), fiber, disc and diode lasers, electron beams
  • Recommended products: CAVILUX HFCAVILUX Smart

Cold Metal Transfer (CMT)

Additive manufacturing with CMT process in slow motion + Schlieren imaging technique

Video Credit: Cavitar

Cold metal transfer methods provide: 

  • Clear visibility of filler wire drop forming
  • Clear overview of melt pool and surrounding area
  • Offers supplementary information relative to shielding gas by applying schlieren imaging
  • Recommended product: CAVILUX HF 

Plasma Cladding

Plasma Cladding - Additive Manufacturing

Video Credit: Cavitar

Benefits of plasma cladding include: 

  • Visibility of melt pool and added material
  • Clear overview of the work object and surrounding area
  • Recommended product: CAVILUX HF

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Cavitar.

For more information on this source, please visit Cavitar.

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