Height Mapper: Enhancing Metal Additive Manufacturing Metrology

October 27, 2023

The landscape of metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) is constantly evolving, challenging the limits of precision, quality, and efficiency. But as with any rapidly advancing technology, challenges persist. One of the primary hurdles in the 3D printing universe is ensuring the quality of the powder bed and the recoating process throughout the print cycle. The complex interplay between the dynamic laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process and the unique properties of metal powders complicates this endeavor.

Enter Velo3D’s Height Mapper technology, a comprehensive solution to this very problem. But what exactly is Height Mapper, and why does it matter?

A Glimpse into Height Mapper

Imagine a guardian overseeing the integrity of a print in real-time, ensuring that everything is optimal. That’s Height Mapper in a nutshell. Integrated within Velo3D’s Sapphire metal 3D printers, this technology acts as an eagle-eyed observer, keenly monitoring the quality of the powder bed throughout the printing process.

But it’s not just about surveillance. With its structured light projector and high-resolution camera system, Height Mapper is also about sophisticated analytics. The system scrutinizes the powder bed, creating a detailed topographical map that reveals imperfections, like peaks and troughs, that might affect the end product’s quality.

The Multiplicity of Height Mapper’s Role

Height Mapper’s capabilities range from monitoring the powder bed layer-by-layer to qualifying the powder bed before printing. It even plays a pivotal role in setting up the optimal inert gas flow during machine maintenance—a feature that proves crucial in maintaining the powder bed’s integrity.

One particularly exciting feature of Height Mapper is its capacity for real-time quality assurance. Instead of waiting for potential issues to become major problems, Height Mapper identifies irregularities as they arise, from nozzle blockages to changes in the powder’s flowability. Such prompt detection aids in enhancing both the efficiency and reliability of the 3D printing process.

The technology’s precise metrology capabilities mean that fewer test prints are required. This saves not only on material costs but also valuable machine time. Plus, this real-time data-driven approach streamlines the iterative development process, ensuring more efficient and effective outcomes.

Operational Excellence and Beyond

Height Mapper also offers significant operational advantages. Its contributions to machine setup and maintenance streamline the printing process, enhancing speed and reliability without sacrificing quality. It even simplifies the interpretation of build failures, reducing the need for specialized personnel, leading to potential cost savings in training and hiring.

Moreover, with Velo3D’s robust support infrastructure, customers are never alone in their 3D printing journey. Should any issues arise, a dedicated team stands ready to delve deep into build reports, ensuring smooth problem resolution every step of the way.

Looking Ahead

Velo3D’s Height Mapper technology is more than just another tool in the 3D printing arsenal. It’s a testament to what’s possible in metal 3D printing when innovation, precision, and efficiency come together. Height Mapper not only sets a new benchmark in metal 3D printing metrology but also paves the way for even more exciting advancements in the additive manufacturing landscape.

Are you curious about technical details of Height Mapper and its potential implications for the world of 3D printing? Dive deep into our comprehensive technical paper and discover how this technology is reshaping the landscape of metal 3D printing.


Download the Full Paper Here
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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.