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1. (WO2018102021) SUPPORTS FOR SINTERING ADDITIVELY MANUFACTURED PARTS
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What is claimed is:

CLAIMS

1. A method of reducing distortion in an additively manufactured part;

comprising:

forming a shrinking platform of successive layers of composite, the composite including a metal particulate filler in a debindable matrix;

forming shrinking supports of the composite above the shrinking platform;

forming a desired part of the composite upon the shrinking platform and shrinking supports, all portions of the desired part being vertically and directly supported by the shrinking platform;

forming a sliding release layer below the shrinking platform of equal or larger surface area than a bottom of the shrinking platform that reduces lateral resistance between the shrinking platform and an underlying surface;

debinding the matrix sufficient to form a shape-retaining brown part assembly including the shrinking platform, the shrinking supports, and the desired part; and

heating the shape-retaining brown part assembly formed from the composite to shrink all of the shrinking platform, the shrinking supports, and the desired part together at a same rate as neighboring metal particles throughout the shape-retaining brown part assembly undergo mass diffusion.

2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

depositing an open cell structure including interconnections among cell chambers in at least one of the shrinking platform, the shrinking supports, and the desired part; and penetrating a fluid debinder into the open cell structure to debind the matrix from within the open cell structure.

3. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

forming the shrinking platform, the shrinking supports, and the desired part to substantially align a centroid of the combined shrinking platform and connected shrinking supports with the centroid of the part.

4. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

interconnecting the shrinking supports to a side of the desired part by forming separable attachment protrusions of the composite between the shrinking supports and the side of the desired part.

5. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

forming a lateral support shell of the composite following a lateral contour of the desired part; and

connecting the lateral support shell to the lateral contour of the desired part by forming separable attachment protrusions of the composite between the lateral support shell and the desired part.

6. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

forming soluble support structures of the debindable matrix without the metal particulate filler that resist downward forces during the forming of the desired part; and debinding the matrix sufficient to dissolve the soluble support structures before heating the shape-retaining brown part assembly.

7. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

forming soluble support structures of a release composite, the release composite including a ceramic particulate filler, the debindable matrix and less than a sinterable amount of the metal particulate filler, the soluble support structures resisting downward forces during the forming of the desired part; and

before heating the shape-retaining brown part assembly, debinding the matrix sufficient to form a shape-retaining brown part assembly including the shrinking platform, shrinking supports, and desired part and to dissolve the matrix of the soluble support structures.

8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the underlying surface comprises a portable build plate, and wherein the method further comprises:

forming the shrinking platform above the portable build plate;

forming the sliding release layer below the shrinking platform and above the portable build plate with a release composite including a ceramic particulate and the debindable matrix;

sintering the shape-retaining brown part assembly during the heating;

keeping the build plate, sliding release layer, and shape-retaining brown part assembly together as a unit during the debinding and during the sintering;

after sintering, separating the build plate, sliding release layer, shrinking platform, and shrinking supports from the desired part.

9. The method according to claim 1, further comprising:

forming part release layers between the shrinking supports and the desired part with a release composite including a ceramic particulate filler and the debindable matrix; sintering the shape-retaining brown part assembly during the heating;

keeping the part release layers and shape-retaining brown part assembly together as a unit during the debinding and during the sintering;

after sintering, separating the part release layers, shrinking platform, and shrinking supports from the desired part.

10. The method according to claim 9, further comprising:

depositing an open cell structure including interconnections among cell chambers in the shrinking supports; and

penetrating a fluid debinder into the open cell structure to debind the matrix from within the open cell structure.

11. A method of reducing distortion in an additively manufactured part;

comprising:

depositing, in successive layers, a shrinking platform formed from a composite, the composite including a metal particulate filler in a debindable matrix;

depositing shrinking supports of the composite above the shrinking platform; depositing an open cell structure including interconnections among cell chambers in the shrinking supports;

depositing, from the composite, a desired part upon the shrinking platform and shrinking supports;

exposing the shrinking platform, shrinking supports, and desired part to a fluid debinder to form a shape-retaining brown part assembly;

penetrating the fluid debinder into the open cell structure to debind the matrix from within the open cell structure; and

sintering the shape-retaining brown part assembly to shrink at a rate common throughout the shape-retaining brown part assembly.

12. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

depositing a sliding release layer below the shrinking platform of equal or larger surface area than a bottom of the shrinking platform that reduces lateral resistance between the shrinking platform and an underlying surface.

13. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

depositing part release layers between the shrinking supports and the desired part with a release composite including a ceramic particulate filler and the debindable matrix; keeping the part release layers and shape-retaining brown part assembly together as a unit during the exposing and during the sintering;

after sintering, separating the part release layers, shrinking platform, and shrinking supports from the desired part.

14. The method according to claim 13, further comprising:

forming vertical gaps without release composite between shrinking supports and the desired part where a vertical surface of a shrinking support opposes an adjacent wall of the desired part.

15. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

depositing a lateral support shell block having a large cell interior, having cells with cell cavities wider than a thickest wall within the lateral support shell block, to assist in diffusing and penetrating debinding fluid into the support.

16. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

interconnecting the shrinking supports to a side of the desired part by forming separable attachment protrusions of the composite between the shrinking supports and the side of the desired part.

17. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

forming a lateral support shell of the composite as the shrinking supports to follow a lateral contour of the desired part.

18. The method according to claim 17, further comprising:

connecting the lateral support shell to the lateral contour of the desired part by forming separable attachment protrusions of the composite between the lateral support shell and the desired part.

19. The method according to claim 17, further comprising:

depositing at least one of the shrinking platform, the lateral support shell, and the desired part with interconnections between internal chambers; and

penetrating a fluid debinder via the interconnections into the internal chambers to debind the matrix from within the open cell structure.

20. The method according to claim 11, further comprising:

forming the shrinking platform, shrinking supports, and desired part to substantially align a centroid of the combined shrinking platform and connected shrinking supports with the centroid of the part.

21. A method of reducing distortion in an additively manufactured part;

comprising:

depositing, in successive layers, a shrinking platform formed from a composite, the composite including a metal particulate filler in a debindable matrix;

depositing shrinking supports of the composite above the shrinking platform;

forming, among the shrinking supports, parting lines as separation clearances dividing the shrinking supports into fragments separable along the separation clearances; shaping, from the composite, a desired part upon the shrinking platform and shrinking supports,

debinding the matrix sufficient to form a shape-retaining brown part assembly including the shrinking platform, shrinking support columns, and desired part;

sintering the shape-retaining brown part assembly to shrink at a rate uniform throughout the shape-retaining brown part assembly;

separating the shrinking supports into fragments along the separation clearances; and

separating the fragments from the desired part.

22. The method according to claim 21, wherein one or more of the separation clearances are formed as vertical clearance separating neighboring support columns and extend for substantially a height of the neighboring support columns, and further comprising:

separating the neighboring support columns from one another along the vertical clearances.

23. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming, within a cavity of the desired part, interior shrinking supports from the composite;

forming, among the interior shrinking supports, parting lines as separation clearances dividing the interior shrinking supports into subsection fragments separable along the separation clearances; and

separating the subsection fragments from one another along the separation clearances.

24. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming the subsection fragments as blocks separable from one another along a separation clearance contiguous within a plane intersecting the shrinking supports.

25. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming a lateral support shell of the composite as the shrinking supports to follow a lateral contour of the desired part.

26. The method according to claim 25, further comprising:

connecting the lateral support shell to the lateral contour of the desired part by forming separable attachment protrusions of the composite between the lateral support shell and the desired part.

27. The method according to claim 25, further comprising:

forming, in the lateral support shell , parting lines dividing the lateral support shell into shell fragments separable along the parting lines;

debinding the matrix sufficient to form a shape-retaining brown part assembly including the shrinking platform, shrinking support columns, lateral support shell, and desired part;

separating the lateral support shell into the shell fragments along the parting lines; and

separating the shell fragments from the desired part.

28. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

depositing at least one of the shrinking platform, the shrinking supports, and the desired part with interconnections between internal chambers; and

penetrating a fluid debinder via the interconnections into the internal chambers to debind the matrix from within the open cell structure.

29. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming soluble support structures of the debindable matrix without the metal particulate filler that resist downward forces during the forming of the desired part; and debinding the matrix sufficient to dissolve the soluble support structures before sintering the shape-retaining brown part assembly.

30. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming a sliding release layer below the shrinking platform of equal or larger surface area than a bottom of the shrinking platform that reduces lateral resistance between the shrinking platform and build plate

forming the shrinking platform above the portable build plate;

forming the sliding release layer below the shrinking platform and above the portable build plate with a release composite including a ceramic particulate and the debindable matrix; and

keeping the build plate, sliding release layers and shape-retaining brown part assembly together as a unit during the debinding and during the sintering.

31. The method according to claim 21, further comprising:

forming part release layers between the shrinking supports and the desired part with a release composite including a ceramic particulate filler and the debindable matrix; keeping the part release layers and shape-retaining brown part assembly together as a unit during the debinding and during the sintering;

after sintering, separating the part release layers, shrinking platform, and shrinking supports from the desired part.