Method to Improve 3-D Metal Printing
A method to design and fabricate support structures in parts with overhangs (or undercut, or similar features) from powder-based EBAM technology. This approach designs and fabricates a support underneath an overhang with a certain gap (no contact with overhang) that is extended with a vertical piece to the build plate. One or more layers of un-melted metallic powder are prepared in the elongated gap between an upper horizontal surface of the support structure and a lower surface of the overhang geometry. The support section functions as a heat sink to enhance heat transfer, lower part temperatures, and improve thermal gradient which lead to the elimination of part deformations. Because the support structure is not connected to the part, the support structure can be removed freely without any post-processing step.