A model of the laser powder deposition (LPD) process is presented, which predicts the cross-sectional geometry of parts that are made up of thin-walled and thick-walled features, deposited via multiple passes. The model builds up the part shape incrementally by predicting the cross-section of a bead of material deposited on the part, updating part shape to reflect the added material, and repeating for each additional deposition pass. The effects of laser power and deposition speed are accounted for empirically, and the effect of nozzle stand-off distance is accounted for via a powder catchment model suitable for coaxial deposition nozzles. The model was calibrated via deposition experiments using stainless steel 316L powder and via measurement of nozzle characteristics. Validation tests showed that the powder catchment model captured the effect of nozzle stand-off distance on deposited bead size. Validation tests also showed that the model predicted the overall shapes of both thin-walled and thick-walled features, including rounding present at the edges of some thick-walled features. Using calibration data from short thick-walled depositions, the average error in predicted feature height, after ten layers, was 9.3% and 9.5% for thin-walled and thick-walled features, respectively. The model was also shown to predict the effects of using a step-up distance per layer that is too small, resulting in inefficient deposition, or too large, resulting in deposition failure after a few layers.

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