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Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954

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Influence of building strategies on the accuracy of parts in selective laser sintering
K. Senthilkumaran, Pulak M. Pandey *, P.V.M. Rao
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 16 November 2008
Accepted 5 January 2009
Available online 22 January 2009
Selective laser sintering
Shrinkage compensation
Exposure strategy
Laser scanning

a b s t r a c t
Shrinkage in selective laser sintering process is primarily influenced by material, process parameters and
the geometry of the fabricated part. The part inaccuracy due to this shrinkage is overcome by calibrating
and compensating it. Further improvements in accuracy of the part can be achieved by conducting more
studies to appreciate the nature of deviations, by subjecting calibration part to varying build conditions.
This paper presents the results of the experimental study carried out to understand shrinkage behavior in
selective laser sintered polyamide 12 parts. Due to the inherent nature of the process, the shrinkage
behavior is often influenced by exposure strategies, part positioning, part orientation, and other compensations applied to the part. When fabricated under different settings, shrinkage behavior of calibration
parts tends to differ from usual. In the present work, the variations in error patterns due to different strategies in building the calibration part have been reported. The discussions presented in this paper on the
shrinkage behavior of plastic parts are likely to make the process of compensation efficient and hence aid
in improving the accuracy of the process.
Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Rapid prototyping (RP) is an additive manufacturing process for
low volume, high value, custom-designed parts. These parts can be
made out of common engineering thermo-plastics such as polyamides, ABS, polycarbonate, polyphenylsulfone (PPSF) to metal
parts such as titanium, stainless steel and tool steel [1]. Since the
delivery of the first commercial machine in 1988, RP has grown
as integral part of the new product development process. The use
of RP has reduced time to market a product, cut trial costs, and improved product quality by giving design and manufacturing professionals a tool to quickly verify and fine-tune designs before
committing these to expensive tooling and fabrication. RP also
has some challenges that must be improved upon before it becomes rapid manufacturing (RM) for producing parts in small
batches or customized parts. One of the main challenges is part
accuracy. This is main concern of industries such as aerospace
and bio-medical which would like to use RP technology for producing directly usable products. The capability to produce a part in
hours without any tooling is a powerful advantage for many industries. With the stronger plastics and even metallic materials used
in some of the RP processes, parts can be produced that will withstand reasonable amount of stress and higher temperature ranges.
However the parts produced tend to warp and/or shrink from its
given dimensions, forcing the user to run several trials of a part
to reach its ideal dimension or settle for a slightly inaccurate part
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 11 26596083.
E-mail address: (P.M. Pandey).
0261-3069/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[2]. In order to improve the accuracy of the part, the shrinkage
behavior of parts during manufacture needs to be better understood. The work presented in this paper was carried out to investigate the shrinkage behavior of parts produced by one of the RP
process namely selective laser sintering (SLS).
SLS is a powder based RP technology that allows generating
complex 3D parts layer by layer. A CAD model, created in any solid
modeller, is first tessellated and sliced into layers of 0.05–0.3 mm
thickness to get contour information of each layer. This information is used to sinter the selected areas of each layer while producing parts. SLS uses fine powder which is spread uniformly by a
roller or a recoater on the machine bed and scanned selectively
by a laser of power 25–100 W such that the surface tension of
the grains is overcome and they are sintered together. Before the
laser scans, entire machine bed is heated to a temperature below
the melting point of the material by infra red heaters to minimize
thermal distortion and to facilitate fusion to the previous layer. Laser power is adjusted to bring the selected powder areas to a temperature just sufficient for the powder particles to get sintered.
After allowing sufficient time for the sintered layer to cool down
without causing significant internal stresses, the part bed moved
down by one layer thickness to facilitate new powder layer to be
spread by a recoater. The sintered material forms the part while
the un-sintered powder remains in its place and acts as a support
for the subsequent layers and may be cleaned away and recycled
once the build is complete.
SLS is one of the few RP processes capable of producing durable
and functional parts from a wide range of prototype materials. The
functional prototypes are wear resistant, durable and chemical

cooling rate and geometry.. 2. Moreover. the laser power. Manetsberger et al. During crystallization. Ning et al. They used neural networks for the study of effect of process parameters. leading to a decrease in porosity and volume. They found that scan length influences shrinkage in the X direction. scanning speed. In most of these studies. It is evident from the review of the literature that understandings developed in variations of shrinkage due to process parameters are useful in finding an optimum set of process parameters for producing accurate parts. They quantified two types of shrinkages namely thermal shrinkage and sintering shrinkage. build chamber temperature. They found that errors decrease with increase in nominal dimensions in infiltrated state than in a green state for all build condition. However. They also predicted that scaling factors can have a linear relationship with scan length. Expressions for shrinkage and beam offset in terms of the nominal diameter and error after sintering were developed. [11] studied the effect of temperature. i. Jacobs [12] discussed the effects of shrinkage variation on the accuracy of rapid tooling inserts. Ning et al. A particular layer can shrink non-uniformly due to its position. Most of the process parameters are decided by the knowledge and experience of the machine builder and machine operator. there is a directional effect considering the direction in which laser scanning takes place and the direction normal to it. but decreases with increasing layer thickness. They used a thermal simulation as a basis for shrinkage compensation in SLS process. Research rationale Shrinkage is strongly influenced by the laser parameters. scan direction are the factors which are usually neglected in developing shrinkage compensation factors. 1. The assumption that shrinkage compensation factors remain unchanged with geometry and build conditions is one of the major limitations in producing accurate parts. Zhu et al. [5] studied the effect of process parameters on shrinkage characteristics in SLS process. They concluded that short hatch lines cause serious shrinkage and the part becomes less homogeneous. They expressed shrinkage values as a function of temperature and also showed a linear dependency to the pressure applied. But such methods have limitations and sensitivity of shrinkage patterns to the errors in beam offset needs to be studied in detail. the thermal shrinkage increases with increase in laser power and shrinkage decreases with increase in scan speed and scan spacing. the laser scan speed is adjusted dynamically according to the scan length which varies with geometric shape of the part. For example. They found that the sintering shrinkage is mainly caused by densification and is a kind of elastic compressive shortening. Hopkinson and Sercombe [7] investigated the effect of part height. shrinkage of parts is susceptible to changes in geometry and is heavily influenced by building strategies. process shrinkage and thermal shrinkage [14].K. One of the main sources of size and shape variations of the part is shrinkage during processing. the part expands due to the coefficient of thermal expansion and then shrinks during cooling.e. He also found that nonuniformity in shrinkage is mainly attributed to geometry of the 2947 part. They found that in-plane shrinkage (X and Y shrinkage) is very less compared to the shrinkage in the build direction. Wang [13] discussed the issues in calibration of shrinkage and beam offset for the SLS process. part orientation. Details of the experiments The SLS process involves a large number of process parameters that are carefully controlled by the operator. time and pressure on the shrinkage of polymer parts. parts produced by SLS are poor in terms of accuracy due to the various errors accumulating from data preparation stage to finishing stage. laser power. 3. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 resistant [3]. So all the above factors need investigation to improve the present shrinkage compensation process. Another important parameter is the beam offset which is usually taken as half of the spot diameter. snap or bolt together and form flexible hinges [4]. part position and build direction on the shrinkage during indirect SLS of aluminum powder. Sometimes beam offset is interpreted as the intercept of the linear fit between nominal dimensions and the error [4]. high or low temperature regions [16]. The crystalline shrinkage occurring during cooling can be highly nonuniform along each direction due to high temperature gradient inside the powder bed. During heating. His work mainly concentrated on random shrinkage and found that standard deviation of random shrinkage is directly proportional to the mean process shrinkage. Ragunath and Pandey [6] studied the effect of process parameters on the process and material shrinkage. they used scaling factors based on the maximum dimensions not on the individual scan lengths while compensating using the model developed by them. There can be expansion–shrinkage behavior during the time history of sintering [15]. They introduced the speed compensation technique based on the scan length.3 mm in Z direction. They also discussed the effect of part weight on the percentage shrinkage. Only 62% (36 W) of the maximum . The experimental study presented in this paper aims at the investigation of shrinkage behavior of polyamide material (PA2200) sintered using EOSINT P380 laser sintering machine with changes in part orientation. They derived empirical relations for percentage shrinkage in terms of scan length using Taguchi method. a standard test specimen is used with the assumption that shrinkage is independent of geometry and is a constant value. Wang et al. Selection of process parameters Maximum power available with CO2 laser in the machine used for experimentation is 58 W. They suggested that thermal shrinkage due to cyclic heating can be reduced by controlling process parameters. They found that error in Z direction is more pronounced than in-plane errors due to phenomenon called ‘‘Z-growth” whereby the heat from the laser penetrates beyond the down facing surface to bond unwanted particles. The process parameters include layer thickness. [10] conducted series of experiments for direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process to find the effect of hatch length on the material anisotropy. part placement. the molecules arrange themselves and occupy less volume thus leading to material shrinkage. part bed temperature. In their method. However. The different scan speeds for the scan lengths are chosen based on the shrinkage values at different speeds. [9] considered the effect of geometry on the shrinkage of metallic parts.1 mm is achievable for a 40 mm part in the XY direction and ±0. In their work. 3. and scanning mode and pattern which are shown in Fig. The total shrinkage in SLS process is due to material shrinkage. exposure strategies and other compensations. During processing the powder particles fuse together to produce dense parts.1. when building a part. He concluded that key to accuracy and repeatability of such techniques is the reduction of mean process shrinkage to a smallest possible level. The following paragraphs present some of the previous work carried out by researchers to study shrinkage in SLS process. They proposed an algorithm to find out optimal hatch direction for a typical layer by considering the shrinkage as a function of hatch length. [8] studied the shrinkage behavior in metal powders. heterogeneity and part strength. Senthilkumaran et al. These parts can be made to bend. hatch spacing. In reality. They found that percentage shrinkage increases with increase in the scanning speed and hatch spacing. They characterized tolerances achievable on different build orientations and found that a tolerance of ±0. part bed temperature and delay time.

3. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 20 strips Fig. Test specimens Since shrinkage needs to be studied for different nominal lengths. The process parameters used in the present experimental study are given in Table 1. Maximum scan speed as 4500 mm/s is chosen so that build time will be shorter.15  103 Fig. Details of the material Specimens used in the study were fabricated using PA2200 which is a modified nylon 12 developed for use in SLS machines by EOS Gmbh.2.4.6 mm and 26. Germany. the contour lines are scanned with a low laser power and high beam speed as compared to the hatch lines. The process parameters used for contour exposure are lower laser power and scan speed compared to hatching exposure in order to achieve a good surface finish. power is used in the present experiment since curling is observed at higher laser powers. of the part in vector scan mode (contouring). the laser beam should be offset from the boundaries of the crosssection of the object and is called beam offset. The material used was refreshed and the ratio of mixing is 70% used powder and 30% virgin powder. respectively. Senthilkumaran et al. 3. More amounts of fresh powder cause curling and warpage [17] and hence 30% fresh powder is used. If the beam offset for contour is less or greater than half the effective beam diameter. During faster cooling part develops significant stresses causing post-build warpage [16]. So a specimen with different strip lengths (20–200 mm with an increment of 10 mm for each strip) as shown in Fig. 3a. If the part is not allowed to cool in controlled environment for long time. Two exposure strategies showing beam compensations. In hatching. 1. the previously used powder has properties which are different from virgin powder. which would disrupt the dimensional accuracy of the part. Shrinkage calibration specimen. The beam offset values for contour and hatch lines are different. The diameter of the sintered zone is usually larger than the laser diameter and is called as spot diameter or effective laser diameter. As discussed earlier. The complete length of laser scan in one dimension is dependent upon of the size and shape of contours dictated by part geometry. the laser scans the top surface of a heated powder bed to form the area enclosed by contours of the layered object in raster scan mode (hatching) in combination with the outlining of the cross-sections Y 200 X Fig. Process parameters affecting shrinkage. turning the laser on and off at the boundaries of the contour. should be set to the half of the contour spot diameter as shown in Fig. the beam offset can be entered separately for contouring and hatching.7 NA 176 0.2948 K. In an SLS process it is common to use mixture of fresh powder and previously used but unsintered powder for building parts. In order to compensate the dimensional error due to spot diameter. 2 is designed. In the SLS system. Having gone through a heating cycle. For the powder at the edge of the boundary to be completely exposed to the laser beam during the contouring. In most of the SLS systems. . the initial beam offset value is again defined with respect to the edge of the boundary (which should be larger Table 1 Process parameters set for the experiments. 3. 2. the value of the beam offset (dc).66 kW/ m2. The laser spot size and energy density used in the experiments are 0.5 0. The material is semi-crystalline in nature. then there is the possibility of sintering powder outside the layer edge or not sintering part of the intended edge region. 3. During hatching. the specimen should contain different lengths. the part tend to warp due to faster cooling in outside environment. So the part is allowed to cool inside the platform for 5 h. Parameter Laser power (W) Scan speed (m/s) Hatch spacing (m) Build chamber temperature (°C) Layer thickness (m) Value Hatching Contouring 36 4.3  103 10 0. the laser scans across the powder surface in one dimension.3. Exposure strategies and beam compensation There are some important considerations in fabricating shrinkage calibration parts using different process parameters for contour lines and hatch lines.

in this case caution must be observed in guaranteeing that there are no unsintered particles between the contour path and the hatching region. this part will have single line exposure of laser beam. Results and discussion 4. experiments are performed to study the effect of this small shrinkage that is being neglected in deviations per unit length calculation. 3). The dimensions of this part are chosen such that when fabricated. Senthilkumaran et al.59 mm Is ON 0.6  6 mm. 5.6 and 0. however. it introduces errors in deviations per unit length pattern especially for smaller dimensions.6 mm scan track produced 0. Calculation of percentage deviations per unit length 4.1 0. The beam compensation value is adjusted to nominal dimensions while calculating deviations per unit length.645 mm 0 Is OFF NA 0. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 Deviations per unit length (%) 0. In the present work.2 0. Influence of beam compensation adjustments on shrinkage pattern. than that for contouring). Effect of beam compensation on shrinkage As discussed earlier the beam compensation adjustment value is normally chosen equal to the spot diameter. no beam compensation is applied while fabricating specimens.2949 K.645 mm Yes Yes . 4. a part is designed with dimensions 25  0. Fig. on shrinkage pattern. The thickness of the single hatch line part is fabricated and measured and its value is found to be 0.645 mm after compensating this shrinkage. where a is the beam compensation adjustment value and is most of the times equal to the spot diameter.05 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Nominal Dimensions (mm) Fig.5.645 mm and its building strategies are listed in Table 2. 2 are fabricated with two different exposure strategies as listed in Table 3. The adjusted nominal dimensions is Lc + a. Effects of contouring and hatching The percentage deviations per unit length (s) is calculated from the following relation: s¼ Lc  Lm  100 Lc ð1Þ where Lc is the nominal dimension of the part and Lm is the measured dimension of the part after sintering and cooling.33 mm 0 X direction only X direction 0 Is OFF NA 0. 4.555 mm thick part after shrinkage. The percentage shrinkage calculated for this single scan track is 7%.3 0.2. Thus it is found that 0.645 mm 0. The overlap should not be too wide though. 4 shows deviations per unit lengths for specimens using beam compensation adjustment values with 0. to prevent over-sintering. 4.6 mm Yes Yes Table 3 Building strategies for parts compared in Fig. In order to find out the effect of this beam compensation value Another set of experiment was conducted with two exposure strategies to identify the variations in shrinkage. In order to estimate the shrinkage in beam compensation adjustment value (a) for the hatch lines. the beam offset for hatching (dh) must be chosen in such a way. for some specimens. two different curves are plotted for deviations per unit length vs nominal dimensions. Process variable Considering shrinkage in a Without considering shrinkage in a Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Scanning mirror inertia compensation X direction only X direction X direction only X direction 0 Is OFF NA 0.555 mm. Thus. In one specimen. Two specimens as shown in Fig.25 0. only hatch lines are ex- Table 2 Building strategies for part compared in Fig. 3. In the present work. The beam compensation adjustment value (a) is calculated as 0.6 mm a=0. Process variable With contour exposure Without contour exposure Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Scanning mirror inertia compensation X direction only X direction 0.1. so as to form a narrow overlapping regions between the contour path and the hatching region (Fig.15 a=0. As discussed earlier if shrinkage of beam compensation adjustment values is not properly estimated. In earlier approaches the shrinkage of this width of scan line is usually neglected.

exposure strategy produces lesser energy in smaller scan lengths unlike the uncompensated specimens. 6). 5. Some of the commercial machines usually call this kind of exposure strategy as skywriting [18] (Fig. In the present study. The second degree curve.35% and 0. more noise in error pattern is observed with the contour exposed part than that of hatch line exposed part. For the specimen with only hatching exposure. 7. 9.3 0. But after compensating inertia effect.45 0. This causes non-uniform shrinkage between two lengths of specimens. In order to avoid inconsistencies in the energy density of exposure. In addition to this. Senthilkumaran et al. Hence compensating inertia effects of scanning mirror lowers the shrinkage in small strip lengths. It is observed that this higher percentage of shrinkage is caused primarily due to the constraining effect of the contour exposure.25 0.2 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Nominal Dimensions (mm) Fig. In another experiment. The shrinkage of strips along X direction varies be- Table 4 Building strategies for parts compared in Fig. should be compensated. posed and in another specimen both contour and hatch lines are exposed as shown in Fig.2% and 0. 8) with building strategies tabulated in Table 5.5 0.35 0.3%. two specimens (Fig. 4. The dimensions are measured and the deviations per unit length is calculated and plotted against nominal dimensions for both specimens (Fig. Skywriting exposure strategy.3. Also the constraining effect is not consistent between different strips of specimen and the result is a random noise found over quadratic curve fitted to deviations per unit length data as shown in Fig.4. This produces less densification and shrinkage. 7.12].65 Deviations per unit length (%) 0.10. Shrinkage decreases with increase in nominal dimensions in the uncompensated specimens and it matches with the commonly reported shrinkage pattern in literature [6. the length of scan during which acceleration and deceleration of galvano mirrors takes place. In one of the specimens. In compensated specimens.2950 K. The contour lines are scanned with a low laser power and high beam speed as compared to the hatch lines. Two sets of shrinkage calibration specimens.645 mm Yes Y direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0. 2) are fabricated with process parameters listed in Table 1 and building strategies as given in Table 4. This length of unexposed compensated region is independent of part size.9. The deviations per unit length between these two specimens is compared in Fig. the shrinkage trends are reversed. one set parallel to X axis and another parallel to Y axis are fabricated (Fig. 6.55 0. fitted using deviations per unit length data points shows variations in shrinkage behavior between two specimens. Effect of inertia of scanning mirror on shrinkage Usually there are variations in scanning speed due to acceleration and deceleration of scanning mirror during hatching exposure at the boundaries of the layer which are to be eliminated to get a uniform energy density. It is found that the deviations per unit length in smaller strip length of compensated specimen is lower than the uncompensated specimen. 5). the shrinkage is found to vary between 0. Contour boundaries arrest the expansion of the layer occurring during sintering process [8]. For the specimen with both contour and hatching exposure. Effect of part orientation on deviations per unit length A study of change in specimen orientation in XY plane is important due to anisotropic nature of the shrinkage.65%. shape and location. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 0. the inertia of the mirror is compensated while the other specimen is fabricated without compensating the inertia effects. Process variable With skywriting Without skywriting Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Scanning mirror inertia compensation Y direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0.6 0.645 mm No . the shrinkage is found to vary between 0. Effect of contouring on error pattern. the effect of this compensation on deviations per unit length is investigated experimentally. 4. 5. The laser should be switched off while scanning these lengths and hence no exposure on this compensated length. The deviations per unit length while strip lengths are parallel to X and Y directions of the machine are calculated and plotted in Fig. 3. Fig.4 Without contour exposure With contour exposure 0.

2) are fabricated with building strategies listed in Table 6 to compare the deviations per unit lengths while scanning parallel to X and Y directions (type 1 and 2 exposure). 10. 4. Build orientation and scanning direction of the specimen. Higher shrinkage (0. As discussed earlier. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 2 Without skywriting With skywriting 1. There is a larger variation of shrinkage to the nominal dimension in Y direction specimen due to in-homogenous nature of the shrinkage in Y direction influenced by two things: (a) thermal gradients and (b) recoater movements. 8.4–0.645 mm Yes Y direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0. Effect of skywriting on error pattern. 7.2% and 0. the deviations per unit length increases steeply with nominal dimensions for strip lengths between 20 and 120 mm and decreases gradually after 120 mm. Senthilkumaran et al. (2) along Y direction only. the slot feeding mechanism exerts a small pressure by the self weight of the powder contained in the recoater. It should be noted that larger strip length has large delay time between consecutive exposures of the same point. whereas lower length has smaller delay time [19]. Fig. The movement of the recoater is along the X direction of the machine. The shrinkage in SLS process has a linear relationship with this pressure and frictional forces [11].5 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Nominal Dimensions (mm) Fig. Firstly. the thermal gradient within a build chamber and the variations in temperature during the building and cooling processes differ with the different length of strips in specimen. In order to study the effect of scan direction. For specimen oriented along Y direction. And due to the very low thermal conductivity of the material used in the process. This expansion is basically the falling of powder particles while melting and it is influenced by various forces like buoyant force. the part bed retains heat over a relatively long period of time. Between the scan lengths 20 and 110 mm.5. But while recoating. The percentage deviations per unit length of nominal dimensions are compared for X and Y direction scanning parts as shown in Fig. recoating exerts non-uniform uniform pressure on the spread powder and causes a non-uniform shrinkage. Secondly. marangoni flow and gravity and a more detailed explanation for this in-plane expansion is given by Zhu et al. no pressure is applied in SLS process during sintering. shrinkage in larger strip length is very different from that occurring in smaller length strips since shrinkage in large geometries tends to be retarded owing to internal stresses [11]. where as the shrinkage along Y direction varies between 0. 30 and 40 mm strips). This in-homogenous distribution in intensity of powder deposited causes larger variations in shrinkage for Y direction specimens. Also expansion rather shrinkage is found for small strip lengths (20. Unlike conventional sintering. The scanning lines are generated and exposed by one of the four schemes: (1) along X direction only. the expansion dominates the shrinkage. The reason for this lies in the variation in the energy density. [8]. Effect of scan direction The commonly used hatching strategy in SLS process is a raster type scanning. Moreover. Process variable Parts oriented along X Parts oriented along Y Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Scanning mirror inertia compensation X direction only X direction 0 Is OFF NA 0. (3) exposure along both X and Y direction and (4) along X direction in one layer and along Y in next layer (parallel to X and Y on alternate layers). tween 0.3% for different strip lengths.5 1 0.5 0 -0. 9. in another experiment. there is a shrinkage– expansion behavior during time-history of sintering [15]. So the pressure exerted on the new spread powder layer and frictional forces between the new powder being spread and already sintered layer are not uniform in Y direction.645 mm Yes .6%) is observed for the specimen in which scanning is along X direction than for the Y direction part Table 5 Building strategies for parts compared in Fig.2951 Deviations per unit length (%) K. two shrinkage calibration parts (Fig.35%. The weight of the powder contained in the recoater varies in position along the Y direction as it deposits while moving from one end to another [20].4% and 0.

3 -0.6 0. The author observed that in SLS machine. Senthilkumaran et al.8 0. Deviations per unit length (%) 0. Scan length for the Y direction part is very short and is constant for all strip length in scanning parallel to X direction unlike scanning in Y direction where scan length is equal to the strip lengths. 12). The nominal dimension fabricated can be bigger or smaller than the original CAD dimension depending on the length of the specimen (Fig. Compensating positioning errors and its effect on shrinkage curves The laser path planning is entirely carried out by the process software. 180 200 . As discussed already.2 0 Scanning parallel to X Scanning parallel to Y -0. the layer boundary to be exposed is super imposed over a fixed two dimensional grid pattern. Table 6 Building strategies for the specimens compared in Fig. Effect of specimen orientation. 11.5 mm spacing for the machine used for experimentation and this value depends upon the positioning ability of the galvanoscanner used in SLS machine. One of them is the positioning error or approximation error. 9.2 -0.645 mm Yes Yes Y direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0.2 0. There are certain errors which creep into the shrinkage pattern due to limitations in positioning ability of the scanner hardware. 10. This grid has 0. Effect of scan direction on shrinkage pattern.3 0.4 0.2952 K. Process variable Scanning along X Scanning along Y Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Positioning error adjustment Scanning mirror inertia compensation X direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0.2 Strip length along Y direction -0.4 -0. It seems that this approach is mainly driven by the inability of the scanner to position the beam to the intended dexel space. 10) fitted to deviations per unit length data points for Y direction scanning. The first and last hatch lines are snapped to this grid lines and in between hatch lines are generated based on the hatch spacing value input to the machine. Expansion in Y direction is arrested by the scan lines parallel to X directions as shown in Fig.1 Strip length along X direction -0. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 Deviations per unit length (%) 0.6.6 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Nominal dimensions (mm) 160 180 200 Fig. The approximations used in the hatch line generation algorithms causes dimensional errors in the fabricated part which alters the shrinkage pattern of specimens and should be carefully corrected. In SLS process.4 to 0. the shrinkage is dominant than expansion for lower length of strips.645 mm NA Yes 4. 10. the laser scan path is computed from a layered file using a dedicated computer program. the expansion and non-uniformity in shrinkage in Y direction part is clearly visible in the second degree curve (Fig. 12. Then the first and last scan lines are aligned to pass through the grid lines rather its original intended dexel space as shown in Fig. While scanning parallel to X direction. (0.6 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Nominal dimensions (mm) 160 Fig.1 0 -0.35%).5 -0.4 -0.

Senthilkumaran et al. 180 200 . all positioning errors are recorded from the user interface of the process software for different length of the strips. 13. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 Table 7 Building strategies for parts compared in Fig. 11. The effect of this positioning error during hatch generation is predominant when scan direction is perpendicular to length variation direction. Deviations per unit length (%) 1. Moreover.8 1. The results are plotted in Fig.645 mm 0 Is OFF NA 0.12].2953 K.645 mm Yes Yes No Yes In order to realize the effect of this error. Positioning error in hatching. specimens with strip length variations and scanning direction are parallel). 13 and the shrinkage pattern (second degree curve fitted to percentage deviations) for uncorrected nominal dimension is found to be similar to one found in literature [9. high random noise is found due to aligning the position of first and last hatch lines to nearest increments of 0.4 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Nominal Dimensions (mm) Fig.g.8 0. The deviations per unit length are calculated with CAD dimension as well as positioning errors adjusted nominal dimensions.4 1.2 1 0. Then these positioning errors are adjusted to the nominal dimension which will be subsequently used for the deviations per unit length calculation. Process variable Positioning error compensated Positioning error uncompensated Scan lines are along Strip lengths are oriented along Beam offset for hatching (dh) Contour exposure Beam offset for contour (dc) Beam compensation adjustment (a) Positioning error adjustment Scanning mirror inertia compensation X direction only Y direction X direction only Y direction 0 Is OFF NA 0. the shrinkage was lower and its magnitude is found to be consistent with the other specimens fabricated in earlier experiments where positioning error is not present (e. Fig.6 0. Most of the shrinkage curves discussed in this work can be modeled mathematically and can be used in dexel based compensation system [21] to improve the accuracy of the SLS parts. It is concluded that by compensating the positioning errors the randomness in shrinkage values can be minimized and efficient calibration and compensation of shrinkage can be achieved. Fig.10.6 Position error compensated Position error uncompensated 1. Effect of positioning error on percentage shrinkage. Scan direction effects for smaller strip length. So a specimen previously fabricated with building strategies as listed in Table 7 which had strip length variations along Y direction and hatch lines parallel to X direction is used for the present study. In the case of the positioning error corrected nominal dimensions. 12.5. 13.

Lee SK. Virt Phys Prototyping 2008. Shrinkage compensation along single direction dexel space for improving accuracy of SLS process. 2006. / Materials and Design 30 (2009) 2946–2954 5. Zeng F. exposure strategies and part orientation are found to influence the accuracy of the part to be produced.  It is found that a noise component is introduced on mean deviations per unit length if the part is exposed using both contour and hatch lines. USA: Wiley. Sercombe TB. London: Kluwer Academic. 2006. Chang PK. Lu L. [19] Jain PK. Effect of control of hatch length on material properties in the direct metal laser sintering process. Int J Mach Tool Manuf 2007. Study on shrinkage behavior of direct laser sintering metallic powder. Influence of process parameters on part shrinkage in SLS. Proc IMechE Pt B: J Eng Manuf 2005. [12] Jacobs P. Pandey PM.3(1):73–80. Zhao L. Moreover. London: Springer-Verlag. [14] Shi Y. This paper focused on the shrinkage behavior by subjecting the shrinkage calibration specimen to varying build conditions. [15] Lu PK. [4] Pham DT. [8] Zhu HH. Experimental investigations for improving part strength in selective laser sintering. Certain compensations other than shrinkage are needed to get accurate estimate of the shrinkage. [10] Ning Y. [21] Senthilkumaran K.218:247–52. Compensation of non-linear shrinkage of polymer materials in selective laser sintering.52:2057–66. Fuh JYH. Process repeatability and sources of error in indirect SLS of aluminium. Liu Z. Lim CS. Wong YS. Improving accuracy through shrinkage modeling by using Taguchi method in selective laser sintering. Rapid Prototyping 1999. Singapore: World Scientific. Calibration of shrinkage and beam offset in SLS process. [18] EOS Gmbh. USA: Wiley.112:236–43. J Mater Process Technol 2001. [6] Ragunath N. [7] Hopkinson N. Basic training manual – EOSINT P380. Shen J. IEEE Trans Autom Sci Eng 2006. high shrinkage is observed at lower scan lengths if the inertia of scanning mirrors is not compensated. Determination of fabricating orientation and packing in SLS process. Beam offset.  If shrinkage of beam compensation adjustment value is not properly estimated. 346–56. Germany. 2nd ed. In: Proceedings of the SFF symposium.  Positioning errors are observed in the hatch generation and it is found to be one of the sources of random noise in the shrinkage pattern for certain exposure strategies. Pandey PM. Lannutti JJ. Rapid Prototyping 2008. Fuh JYH. Rao PVM. Senthilkumaran et al. [11] Manetsberger K. [17] Jain PK.220:183–90. 2006. [16] Venuvinod PK. In: Proceedings of the fourth annual IEEE conference on automation science and engineering. Effect of properties of polymer materials on the quality of selective laser sintering parts.5(3):129–33. p. p. Wang L. Li W.1007/s00170-008-16823.33:498–504. 2008. Rapid prototyping – laser based and other technologies.2954 K. Dickens PM. [9] Ning Y. [5] Wang RJ. Rapid prototyping: principles and application. Density gradients and the expansion–shrinkage transition during sintering. Sun H. An approach to minimize build errors in direct metal laser sintering. Rao PVM. Ma W.219/1:15–25. Pandey PM. Li Z. The effects of random noise shrinkage on rapid tooling accuracy. Hague RJM. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 2008. Effect of delay time on part strength in selective laser sintering. Dimov SS. Rapid prototyping: principles and applications. Acta Mater 2004. Choi KH. Mater Des 2000.  Shrinkage along scanning direction is found to be lower and it is highly non-uniform than shrinkage across the scanning direction.3(3):177–88.  The directional effect due to specimen orientation is found to influence the shrinkage pattern and it is found that the shrinkage along Y direction is highly non-uniform than in X direction when strip lengths and scan lengths are parallel. 2003. [13] Wang X. Pandey PM.21:127–36. doi:10.47:985–95. Fuh JYH. Proc IMechE Pt B: J Eng Manuf 2006.14(2):108–13. Wong YS. Rapid manufacturing: an industrial revolution for the digital age. The conclusions which can be drawn from the work presented in this paper are highlighted below: [1] Chua CK. 2003. Loh HT. Muellers J. Rao PVM. Huang S. inertia of scanning mirror and positioning errors in hatch generations are found to delude the shrinkage pattern. . 2004. [2] Noorani RI. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 2007. The understandings developed in this work will be useful in advancement of SLS process into a rapid manufacturing process for fully functional plastic parts. Rapid manufacturing. Conclusion References Our overall research goal is to understand the nature of shrinkage occurring in SLS process to improve the accuracy of the parts. Leong KF. 827–32. [3] Hopkinson N. Munich. IMechE Pt L: J Mater Des Appl 2004. 2003. introduces errors in percentage shrinkage pattern especially for smaller dimensions.  Moreover. [20] Hur SM.