In spite of the fast growth of laser-based powder bed fusion (L-PBF) processes as a part of everyday industrial practice, achieving consistent production is hampered by the scarce repeatability of performance that is often encountered across different additive manufacturing (AM) machines. In addition, the development of novel feedstock materials, which is fundamental to the future growth of AM, is limited by the absence of established methodologies for their successful exploitation. This paper proposes a structured procedure with a complete test plan, which defines step-by-step the standardized actions that should be taken to optimize the processing parameters and scanning strategy in L-PBF of new alloy grades. The method is holistic, since it considers all the laser/material interactions in different local geometries of the build, and suggests, for each possible interaction, a specific geometry for test specimens, standard energy parameters to be analyzed through a design of experiment, and measurable key performance indicators. The proposed procedure therefore represents a sound and robust aid to the development of novel alloy grades for L-PBF and to the definition of the most appropriate processing conditions for them, independent of the specific AM machine applied.
Keywords: Laser-based powder bed fusion; optimization; processing; standardization.