Additive Manufacturing

Setup for Laser Powder Bed Fusion 330

This class introduces users to laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) setup strategies and best practices. This class provides an overview of key setup processes and considerations for LPBF including networking, configuration, and calibration. It also discusses the powder sieving system setup and its role in providing a successful L-PBF machine operation.

Successful machine setup is necessary for an accurate L-PBF operation. After taking this course, users will be able to describe the key components of L-PBF setup including build tray setup and removal and preparing the build chamber for a job build.

  • Difficulty Advanced

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 11

  • Language English


Or fill out this form and a specialist will contact you shortly

Course Outline
  • Laser Bed Powder Fusion
  • Software
  • Powder Sieving System
  • Machine Components
  • Machine Component Calibration
  • L-PBF Component and System Review
  • Software Configuration for Printing
  • Mirrors and Lenses
  • Build Surface Setup
  • Test Prints and Coupons
  • L-PBF Print Setup Review
  • Describe the importance of setup for L-PBF.
  • Describe the software needed to set up an L-PBF print.
  • Describe the basic requirements for setting up an L-PBF sieving system
  • Describe key L-PBF machine components.
  • Describe best practices for calibrating an L-PBF machine during setup.
  • Describe the importance of L-PBF software configuration for printing.
  • Describe best practices for L-PBF laser optics setup.
  • Describe the importance of setting up the L-PBF build surface.
  • Describe using test prints and test coupons for L-PBF setup.
Vocabulary Term


Three-dimensional. Having height, width, and depth. 3D models for AM are created with computer-aided design software.

additive manufacturing

AM. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional (3D) computer model. Additive manufacturing methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.


Additive manufacturing. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional (3D) computer model. AM methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.

build chamber

The area contained within an additive manufacturing (AM) machine where the part is actually built. Many build chambers are enclosed to improve the safety of the manufacturing operation.

build plate

The removable platform in an additive manufacturing system that supports the in-process part. A build plate is commonly used in metal powder bed fusion operations.

build platform

The flat surface on which a part is additively manufactured. The build platform can either be a permanent machine surface from which parts are removed or a surface that can be removed from a machine once the build is complete.

build processor

A type of software used in powder bed fusion (PBF) or other additive manufacturing (AM) machines that converts STL files into job files. Build processor software is usually specific to each machine.


The comparison and adjustment of a device with unknown accuracy to a device with a known, accurate standard. Calibration eliminates any variation in the device being checked.


The measurement of the amount of heat an object or process releases. Calorimetrics can be used in L-PBF to monitor and measure melting behavior.

Cartesian coordinates

A numerical system that describes the location of an object by expressing its distance from a fixed position along three linear axes. Cartesian coordinates are used to direct machine tool movements.


A hard, brittle material that can withstand high temperatures and resist corrosion. Ceramic parts can be created through additive manufacturing (AM) processes such as binder jetting and selective laser sintering (SLS).

circular aperture

A circular hole in an object where light passes through. Circular apertures are very important in optical devices.

computer-aided design

CAD. A computer system used to design a model of a product. CAD models are converted into STL format for use by additive manufacturing machines.

dimensional control

The ability of a machine or device to meet the size and specifications of the intended design. Dimensional control is essential for maintaining a repeatable target size when manufacturing a part.


Designed to be used directly by a consumer or directly in another manufactured product. End-use products created by additive manufacturing (AM) include medical implants, custom dental devices, and camera equipment.

G code

A programming language that uses letters and numbers to form commands for machine tools. G code programs are used to direct tool movements in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, and hybrid machining.


The mirror control for a laser on an L-PBF machine. Galvanometers direct the laser beam to the correct area on the build plate by measuring small electrical currents.

ghost parts

Created when an operator accidentally loads the same or similar programs two or more times into the slicer. Ghost parts can affect the microstructure of a part print even if it appears visually correct.

gravity-fed powder feed

An inclined tube or similarly sloped surface that enables an operator to load granular material. Gravity-fed powder feeds typically require an operator to manually scoop the material into the machine, which creates a higher risk of contamination compared to vacuum systems.


The ability of a material to resist scratching, abrasion, indentation, or cutting. Hardness is generally measured by the depth or area of penetration under a fixed load using a diamond indenter.


Containers that hold raw materials. Hoppers serve as the entryway for powder into an L-PBF machine.


The interaction point or surface between two or more separate parts that work together. Interfaces are the connection points between two parts.

laser beam

An intense beam of light that can be precisely aimed and controlled. Laser beams are used in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) and other additive manufacturing (AM) processes.

laser optics

Special types of lenses in an additive manufacturing machine that focus the beam to a pinpoint. Laser optics can vary in strength and types.

laser powder bed fusion

L-PBF. An additive manufacturing (AM) method that uses a laser to fuse or melt together layers of powdered polymer, metal, ceramic, or other material. Laser powder bed fusion processes include selective laser sintering (SLS) and selective laser melting (SLM).


A piece of glass shaped with two opposite curved surfaces that is used in optical instruments to form an image by focusing light. A lens can be different sizes for different resolutions.

location control

The ability of a machine or device to meet the placement specifications of design features on a building platform or stage. Location control is crucial in L-PBF when the part attaches directly to the build plate.


Laser powder bed fusion. An additive manufacturing (AM) method that uses a laser to fuse or melt together layers of powdered polymer, metal, ceramic, or other material. L-PBF processes include selective laser sintering (SLS) and selective laser melting (SLM).

mating parts

The object that a workpiece has been manufactured to fit. Common mating parts for workpiece holes include screws and bolts.


A metric measurement equal to 0.000001 of a meter, or approximately 0.000039 of an inch. Micron is a shorter term for micrometer.


The shape and alignment of the microscopic components of a metal. A material's microstructure often determines its hardness, toughness, and other properties.

nondestructive testing

A category of inspection processes that evaluates properties and performance using methods that do not damage or permanently alter the equipment. Nondestructive testing methods include visual inspection, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, eddy current testing, ultrasonic testing, and radiographic testing.

path independence

Not following defined parameters. Path independence in L-PBF can refer to building the same part using several different laser build paths.

penetration depth

The depth to which the laser heat can melt base metals. Penetration depth partially depends on the strength of the laser.


An intersection of two lines or objects at a right angle. Perpendicular lines are used to determine several aspects of tool geometry, including rake angles.


A small cylinder that moves up and down inside a hollow cylinder. Pistons may be used in a laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) system to transfer powder.


A lightweight material that generally has high corrosion resistance, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and a low melting point. Polymers, which make up all plastics, are some of the most common manufacturing materials.


An empty space between the grains and bond in an L-PBF made part. Porosity is often determined by the number of small voids within an L-PBF part.


A group of procedures that are used to clean, improve, or otherwise finish a part for use by a manufacturer or consumer. Post-processing for additively manufactured parts includes abrasive finishing, heat treatment, and painting.

powder blade

A device that slides forwards and backwards over the surface of a powdered material in a powder bed. Powder blades are used in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) systems to smooth powdered material layers over a part or build platform.

recoating blade

A device that slides forwards and backwards over the surface of a powdered material in a powder bed. Recoating blades, also referred to as powder blades, are used in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) systems to smooth powdered material layers over top a part or build platform.


The temperature necessary to change a solid to a liquid more than once. Remelting during L-PBF operations can be problematic.


The ability of a machine or process to continually deliver consistent and uniform results. Repeatability is crucial for efficiently producing parts that meet quality requirements.

scan strategy

A term used with L-PBF systems to describe laser path and laser parameters. Scan strategy can describe a broad range of L-PBF functions like laser speed and spot size as well as the type of pattern used to create an object.


Unusable material produced during a manufacturing process. Scrap is a waste product of manufacturing that can increase overall production costs.


A device that detects a physical stimulus and turns it into a signal that can be measured and recorded. Sensors make it possible for LPBF machines to communicate digitally with other machines.


A type of filtering device used to separate unwanted particulate matter and large particles from powder. Sieves are often used when working with metal powder for additive manufacturing.


A computer program that divides an STL file into layers for additive manufacturing (AM). Slicers can either be separate computer programs or part of the machine interface.


Coded instructions or programs that control computer hardware functions and operations. Software is used as a platform to design additively manufactured parts.

spot size

The point at which a laser beam meets after reflection or refraction. Spot size, or focal point, is often created by a lens or a series of lenses on an L-PBF machine.


Unintentional overlapping between two interlocking parts in additive manufacturing. Stitching in L-PBF may be caused by misaligned lasers.


An additive manufacturing (AM) compatible file format that represents 3D models as a series of interconnected triangles. STL files are sometimes referred to as stereolithography files, standard tessellation language files, or standard transform language files.

support structures

A reinforcing component used to hold the weight of an additively manufactured part as it is being constructed. Support structures are removed from the part once the build is complete.


The arrangement of shapes together. Tessellation in L-PBF refers to the conversion of a surface model to an equivalent triangle or polygon representation.

test coupon

A sample part or piece of material made for the purpose of testing and inspection. Test coupons have exactly the same variables as outlined in the part specification.


A temperature sensor that measures heat at a hot junction and outputs voltage at a cold junction. Thermocouples output voltage that is proportional to the measured temperature.


The ability of a material to withstand forces or sudden impacts that attempt to break it. Toughness allows materials to withstand sudden stress.

vacuum feed

An airtight tube or duct used to move granular material by suction. Vacuum feeds are used in LPBF machines to avoid contamination of powder material when transferring from sieving system to powder bed.