Parts made using powder bed fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing often suffer from deformation, residual stresses, cracks, and other defects stemming from non-uniform thermal distribution during the printing process. Scan pattern (i.e., the geometric pattern of an infill) and scan sequence (i.e., the order in which features of a geometric pattern are scanned) are among the approaches that have been explored to achieve more uniform thermal distribution and reduce thermally-induced defects. The authors have recently proposed an intelligent approach (called SmartScan) for generating scan sequences. SmartScan is model-based and optimization-driven. However, it has only been applied to the most rudimentary scan patterns. This paper compares the separate and combined effects of an advanced scan pattern (the varying-helix pattern) and SmartScan on thermal distribution, part deformation, and printing time in PBF additive manufacturing. Simulations and experiments involving laser marking of AISI 316L stainless steel plates are employed for the comparison. Using SmartScan applied to a rudimentary pattern as a benchmark, the experimental results demonstrate that the application of the advanced pattern without SmartScan improved both temperature uniformity and reduced deformations by 20%, at the cost of 7% increase in printing time. The combination of the advanced pattern and SmartScan yielded 28% and 33% improvement in thermal uniformity and reduction in deformation, respectively, at the cost of 18% increase in scanning time.

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