Effects of Scan Direction and Orientation on Mechanical Properties of Laser Sintered Polyamide-12

Authors

1 Engineering Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

2 CRDM Ltd, 3D Systems Europe, High Wycombe, UK

Abstract

In order to understand the impact of layer-wise scanning direction in the Selective Laser Sintering process, test coupons were manufactured for mechanical testing from DuraForm™ Polyamide powder. The effects of laser energy density, varying between 0.003 and 0.024 J/mm2 were examined in test specimens rotated 90º through the Z axis. SLS machines do not always facilitate ‘cross-hatching’ of layers and therefore orientation has a major influence on part quality. When employed, the cross-hatching technique scans successive layers perpendicularly to the previous. Studying how parts perform with scan lines in a common direction, will assist in the understanding of how SLS parts behave in practice. Results showed that physical density, tensile strength and elongation rose with energy density up to 0.012 J/mm². This initial rise was due to a continued improvement in particle fusion with increasing energy density. Above 0.012 J/mm², these properties started to decline at different rates depending on their orientation (scan direction) on the part bed. Specimen’s oriented perpendicularly to the X axis exhibited a greater elongation at the expense of tensile strength, when compared to parallel specimens.