In-process range-resolved interferometric (RRI) 3d layer height measurements for wire + arc additive manufacturing (WAAM)

In this work a range resolved interferometry (RRI) instrument for absolute distance measurements is integrated into a wire + arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) system to provide in-process monitoring of layer height, and prospects for volume and profile monitoring are discussed. Interferometry as a coherent optical technique offers a straightforward in-process measurement even in the harsh welding environment, as compared to non-coherent techniques based either on laser profiling or camera vision systems. RRI can be accomplished at significantly lower cost, and with higher depth of field (up to 10s of cm) than existing optical coherence tomography based weld monitoring. In this experiment titanium feedstock was used to create a 150mm long, 13.5mm high weld-wall comprised of 11 welded layers. The RRI in-process measurements are in very good agreement with both mid-process, on-machine micrometer measurements taken by hand after each weld, and post-process laser scanning measurements of the completed wall. The high depth of field allows direct referencing of the layer height measurements to the build plate making the measurement independent of the motion system and build plate bending, considerably lowering uncertainties. This, together with the capability for cost-effective in-process measurements in harsh environments, should make the proposed approach very interesting for routine use in WAAM systems.


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