Researchers to improve LPBF metal 3D printing with laser beam shaping

Lpbf Metal 3D Printing

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are seeking to address the drawbacks of laser beams traditionally used in metal 3D printing.

By exploring alternative shapes to the Gaussian beams commonly used in laser-based 3D printing processes such as laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), the researchers hope to reduce porosity and defects in metal parts that can lead to poor mechanical performance.

To overcome such issues, the researchers are exploring how exotic optical beam shapes, known as Bessel beams, can reduce the likelihood of pore formation and “keyholing”, where bubbles are created in the melt pool that then form pores in finished parts.

“Using Gaussian beams is a lot like using a flamethrower to cook…