Success Story

Graduate Project at MIT Uses OpticStudio to Validate Optical Design for Laser Power Bed Fusion

Powerful simulations and an interactive lens and materials catalog yield a novel, commercially relevant machine for 3D metal printing

Laser power bed fusion (L-PBF) is a form of metal additive manufacturing that uses energy from a laser to melt thin layers of powder to facilitate 3D metal printing. The precise use of L-PBF builds on laser welding fundamentals like managing the impact of gas and plume dynamics on weld depth and quality. For this reason, it's important for the designers of L-PBF thermographies to examine and understand the complexities of what happens when a laser interacts with a bed of metal powder.

Addressing issues around existing limitations MIT designed a new system that optimizes the three key laser tower parameters—power, scanning speed, and spot size—such that the system can output customized laser fiber synchronously in a user-specified direction, as plotted on a traditional X-Y axis.

Read the full story to learn how the team at MIT used OpticStudio to simulate conditions that would impact the new system, saving time and gaining a high degree of precision in the process.

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