This paper presents a numerical-experimental investigation on the effects of preheating the substrate on the potential delamination and crack formation across the parts fabricated using the Laser Solid Freeform Fabrication (LSFF) process. For this purpose, the temperature distributions and stress fields induced during the multilayer LSFF process, and their correlation with the delamination and crack formation are studied throughout the numerical analysis and the experimental fabrication of a four-layer thin wall of SS304L. A 3D time-dependent numerical approach is used to simulate the LSFF process, and also interpret the experimental results in terms of the temperature distribution and the thermal stress fields. The numerical results show that by preheating the substrate prior to the fabrication process, the thermal stresses throughout the process domain substantially reduce. Accordingly, this can result in the reduction of potential micro-cracks formation across the fabricated part. Preheating also decreases the transient time for the development of a proper melt pool which is an important factor to prevent poor bonding between deposited layers. The experimental results are used to verify the numerical findings as well as the feasibility of preheating on the reduction of the micro-cracks formed throughout the fabrication process.

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