EOS and nLIGHT Collaboration to Enhance 3D Printing Precision and Quality

By on June 17th, 2024 in Hardware, news

Tags: , , , , ,

How nLIGHT will help EOS achieve better 3D prints [Source: EOS]

EOS announced a very interesting arrangement with nLIGHT.

EOS is the well-known producer of polymer and metal 3D printing equipment, all of which makes use of lasers for the SLS and LPBF 3D printing processes.

LBPF in particular is often used to produce production end-use parts, and these must meet stringent quality controls, particularly for critical applications such as aerospace. Because of that need much attention is focused on making sure the printing parameters achieve the required part quality.

Much of the part quality is dependent on the crystalline microstructure that occurs when the melted metal powder solidifies. This can be tweaked with varying speeds and feeds, but it’s always a challenge.

nLIGHT is a 20-year old US-based company that produces advanced lasers for industry. Typically their products are incorporated into industrial equipment. They explain their industrial fiber laser line:

“Our fiber lasers with advanced metal processing technology provide tunable beam quality with an all-fiber design. This award-winning product line allows the machine operator to tune the laser spot size, divergence, and beam shape to best suit their application.”

That’s quite interesting — but even more interesting is that EOS has signed a deal with the company to incorporate nLIGHT lasers into future EOS 3D printers. That means the EOS 3D printer operators will be able to use nLIGHT’s tuning capabilities to squeeze a bit more quality out of their EOS devices.

In the image at top you can see how this would play out. The spot size and geometry of the nLIGHT laser can be changed, and this would be matched to portions of the 3D model. For high detail the smaller spot size would be used. For infill, the larger ring-shaped spots would be used.

This could provide a way to optimize print quality and printing speed, potentially. The different spot geometries can also reduce spatter and smoke, further enhancing print quality. EOS explains:

“The cooperation between nLIGHT and EOS includes the implementation of a series of complementary laser-based technologies to optimize the AM light engine for robust industrial 3D printing production. nLIGHT and EOS plan to make beam shaping and light engine optimization capabilities available digitally, enabling customers to access different beam profiles via EOS software to activate higher productivity printing. AMCM, an EOS Group company focused on customized AM solutions, has already made the programmable AFX laser available in its metal AM systems.”

This is quite a development, as it should make EOS equipment significantly more powerful.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!