Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is an additive manufacturing technology that can construct medium to small size parts very efficiently in comparison to traditional machining processes. The ability of this technology to grow complex parts made of high strength titanium- and nickel-based alloys led to increasing interest from aerospace, defense, and medical industries. Although the technology allows growing parts close to their final shape, the active surfaces still need a finishing operation such as grinding to meet the tight tolerances and surface finish requirements. Due to the novelty of the DMLS technology, and the relatively recent developments of titanium alloy powders, there is a need for testing and validating the capabilities of the components manufactured through a combination of DMLS and grinding processes. This paper presents the findings of an experimental study focused on the effect of various grinding conditions on the surface integrity of titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) specimens produced using DMLS technology. The goal is to identify dressing and grinding conditions that would result in ground surfaces free of defects such as micro-cracks, discoloration of surfaces and/or burn marks due to high heat generated during grinding. The residual stresses were used to quantify the effect of the grinding conditions on the ground surfaces. These investigations were conducted on an instrumented CNC surface grinding machine, using a silicon-carbide grinding wheel and a water-based fluid. The X-ray diffraction method was used to measure the residual stresses. Two batches of specimens were manufactured for these tests. The growing strategy of the specimens and the presence of apparent defects in material structure are considered some of the main causes for the differences observed in the outcomes of the grinding trials. The results of these investigations support the need for continuing research in the additive manufacturing field to develop methods and technologies that will ensure a high level of consistency of the grown parts.

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