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Proceedings Paper

Advanced rapid prototyping by laser beam sintering of metal prototypes: design and development of an optimized laser beam delivery system
Author(s): Manfred Geiger; A. Coremans; Norbert Neubauer; F. Niebling
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Paper Abstract

Fast technological advances and steadily increasing severe worldwide competition force industry to respond all the time faster to new and chanced customer wishes. Some of the recently emerged processes, commonly referred to as 'rapid prototyping' (RP), have proved to be powerful tools for accelerating product and process development. Early approaches aimed at the automated production of plastic models. These techniques achieved industrial maturity extremely fast and are meanwhile established as standard utilities in the field of development/design processes. So far, their applicability to metal working industry was limited to design studies because the mechanical properties of the prototypes, e.g. modulus of elasticity and mechanical strength were not comparable to the final products they represented. Therefore, RP-processes aimed at the direct production of metallic prototypes gained more and more importance during recent years. A technique belonging to this group is manufacturing of prototypes by using a laser beam sintering machine capable of directly processing metal powders. This so called laser beam sintering process showed a great potential for direct manufacturing of functional tools and prototypes in early feasibility studies. Detailed examinations were performed at several research centers to determine the attainable quality of the parts concerning roughness, dimensional accuracy and mechanical strength. These examinations showed, that there still is a considerable demand for quality improvements of the previously mentioned parameters. The practical application and the potential for improvement of the geometrical accuracy of laser beam sintered parts by using a dual beam concept was proven. An innovative beam guiding and forming concept, similar to the previously mentioned patented beam guiding system, was developed and built with the goal to improve the process parameters governing mechanical properties as well as geometrical accuracy. Further reaching technical applicability of this concept for various other applications is certainly conceivable.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 August 1996
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2787, Rapid Prototyping, (26 August 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.248585
Show Author Affiliations
Manfred Geiger, Univ. Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany)
A. Coremans, Univ. Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany)
Norbert Neubauer, Univ. Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany)
F. Niebling, Univ. Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2787:
Rapid Prototyping
Rolf-Juergen Ahlers; Gunther Reinhart, Editor(s)

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