Design of a Desktop-Size Powder Delivery System for SLS

Photo of Andrew Duggan, Brian Gawlik, Dylan Goldman, Joseph Quackenbush Students: Andrew Duggan, Brian Gawlik, Dylan Goldman, Joseph Quackenbush

Sponsor: Harvest Technologies

Date: Spring 2013

Requirements:
The system must be compatible with multiple materials and thermal conditions. The device should dispense varying layer thicknesses from 0.001" to 0.01" as well operate at temperatures varying from 180°C to 350°C. The build chamber dimensions are 6" long by 4" deep by 1" wide to build both vertical and horizontal ASTM 638 tensile bars. The system must be sealed to maintain a nitrogen environment inside.

Problem:
Develop a desktop-size powder delivery system for use in a small Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine. The machine will be used to materials development for the SLS process.

Solution:
The team modeled the design after a combination of existing SLS systems. The powder smoothing system consists of a blade that is a simple metal wedge attached to a holder by two bolts. The blade is guided by custom-built circular rails with solid cross-sections to minimize deflection. The powder delivery system consists of two identical pistons. The feed piston has a larger stroke to contain excess powder. The pistons and blade are actuated by stepper motors selected for their accuracy, stroke, and speed rating.

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