Enabling cost-based support structure optimization in laser powder bed fusion of metals
Support structures are essential to laser powder bed fusion (PBF-LB/M). They sustain overhangs, prevent distortion, and dissipate process-induced heat. Their removal after manufacturing is required, though, increasing the overall costs. Therefore, optimization is important to increase the economic efficiency of PBF-LB/M. To enable optimization focused on the support structures’ costs, a cost model is developed. The whole production process, including the design, manufacturing, and post-processing of a part, is considered by deriving formulas for the individual costs. The cost model is applied to a previously developed benchmark procedure. Additionally, a case study investigating different support layout strategies is conducted.