Laser polishing of additively manufactured components
Wojciech Gora, Aldara Pan Cabo, Robert Maier, Duncan Hand
Heriot-Watt, supported by Renishaw, is undertaking a project to explore the application of high power lasers to selective polishing of Additively Manufactured (AM) components made using a metal powder process. This is important as the typical rough surfaces generated by AM metal powder processes are not appropriate for many applications, e.g. due to stress risers on the component surface impacting the strength of the component. Post-processing is hence essential and laser polishing offers many advantages over traditionally used mechanical and electrochemical polishing techniques e.g. simplifying access to internal surfaces; and localised polishing when different degrees of surface finish are required in different areas. The processing time is also short, and it is highly repeatable and environmentally friendly (no chemicals or abrasives are used). The current project is focused on identifying optimal parameters that allow for laser polishing of many different materials, such as: cobalt-chromium, stainless or titanium, and applying these to real 3D parts. This project is a part of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes.
1 :Surface of Additively-Manufactured component, before (left) and after (right) laser polishing
University of Manchester, Cranfield University, Renishaw plc, AWE, GKN
Selected publications and presentations
W.S. Gora, Y. Tian, M. Ardron, R.J. Maier, P. Prangnell, N.J. Weston, D.P. Hand, “Laser finishing - improving the surface quality of additively manufactured stainless steel and titanium components”, 2nd Conference on Laser Polishing (LaP), Aachen, Germany, 2016.