Laser or powder sintering: how does it work?
Axis uses Sintering: an ideal process for technical models! Powder sintering is a method of manufacturing prototypes by additive manufacturing, as is stereolithography, which produces prototypes using a 3D file or a digitized model. The principle of this technology is to polymerize the polyamide powder to solidify it in successive layers of 0.10 mm.
Sintering powder: Axis explains in a few words this technology
At Axis, to produce a piece of rapid prototyping in additive manufacturing, it is mandatory to have a 3D file (formats: .IGES, .STEP, .STL, .CatPart) because we do not have a design office. As for stereolithography, we treat and cut the file in thin slices of 0.10 mm to be readable by our machines.
Following this, the 3D file of the prototype is transmitted to the sintering machine which is composed of a pilot computer, two powder tanks on each side of a platform, it also has a lens and a laser . The manufacture of the prototype begins at the flower surface of the machine, that is to say with the platform positioned at the height of its capabilities.
A first layer of powder is deposited on the platform by a mechanical roller fed by the powder tanks. After that, the machine warms up to reach a certain temperature in the cockpit of construction. Once the necessary temperature has been obtained, the laser activates, passes through the lens and moves on the powder layer along a trajectory calculated by the pilot computer to establish the 2D contours of the prototype section corresponding to its manufacturing height.
The laser will allow the powder to sinter, thus harden and weld through the heat scattered at the precise points designated by the laser. Once the first layer of powder has been treated, the platform will go down by 0.10 mm to repeat all its operations: the laser taps on the powder to harden it, the platform goes down, the roller deposits an even layer of powder until the prototype is obtained finished.
After that it is necessary to wait for the temperature of the production cabin to go down to access the manufacturing. At this stage, the “cake” looks like a cube of powder that must be deposited on a cleaning station and cools to avoid any deformation of the pieces. Then the cleaning of the models that must be found in the block of powder and cleaned with brushes and various tools. They are finally sanded to remove excess powder remaining.
The prototypes in powder sintering are porous but they can still receive a definition: simple priming, painting or even metallization.
Sintering powder on video at Axis