Optimization of Electron Beam Melting for Production of Small Components in Biocompatible Titanium Grades

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM), also called 3D-printing, are technologies where parts are formed from the bottom up by adding material layer-by-layer on top of each other. Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is an AM technique capable of manufacturing fully solid metallic parts, using a high-intensity electron beam to melt powder particles in layers to form finished components. Compared to conventional machining, EBM offers enhanced efficiency for production of customized and patient specific parts such as e.g. dental prosthetics. However, dental prosthetics are challenging to produce by EBM, as their small sizes mean that mechanical and surface properties may be altered as part sizes decreases.The aim of this thesis is to gain new insights that could lead to optimization for production of small sized components in the EBM. The work is focused to understand the process-property relationships for small size components production.To improve the surface resolution and part detailing, a smaller sized powder was used for production and compared to parts made with standard sized powder. The surface-, chemical and mechanical properties were evaluated for parts produced with both types of powders. The results indicate that the surface roughness may be influenced by powder and build layer thickness size, whereas the mechanical properties showed no influence of the layer-wise production. However, the mechanical properties are dependent on part size. The outermost surface of the parts consists of a surface oxide dominated by TiO2, formed as a result of reaction between the surface and residual gases in the EBM build chamber. The surface oxide thickness is comparable to that of a conventionally machined surface, but is dependent on build height.This work concludes that the surface resolution and component detailing can be improved by various measures. Provided that proper process themes are used, the EBM manufactured material is homogenous with properties comparable to conventional produced titanium. It has also been shown that the material properties will be altered for small components. The results point towards different ways of optimizing manufacturing of dental prosthetics by EBM, which will make dental prosthetics available for an increased number of patients.