A Deep Dive into Velo3D’s Non-Contact Recoater Blade Technology
Velo3D’s non-contact recoater blade technology helps engineers achieve greater design freedom in additive manufacturing (AM). Traditional AM processes, such as laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), have several limitations that can restrict design freedom. Recoater blades in conventional LPBF machines must often be in contact with the powder bed to spread powder evenly. This can create defects in the printed parts and limits the complexity of part designs.
Velo3D’s non-contact recoater blade eliminates these limitations. The blade is suspended above the powder bed and uses a controlled air flow to spread the powder evenly. This allows for the creation of complex, intricate designs while reducing defects and build failures.
The Benefits of Velo3D’s Non-Contact Recoater
Improved Part Complexity
A non-contact recoater enhances both manufacturing capacity & process stability by expanding the gap between the recoater blade and the powder bed to several times the designated layer thickness. Despite this increase, the method still ensures a consistently thin and uninform “working layer” of 50 µm following each recoating cycle.
Enhanced Low-angle Geometries for Maximum Performance
The extra clearance during the recoating process accommodates a degree of part protrusion, enhancing the feasibility of manufacturing low-angle overhangs — in certain instances, even down to a 0° angle relative to the horizontal plane. This substantially reduces or eliminates the need for anchor geometry, without compromising surface integrity, and helps control the flow of fluid or transfer of heat.
Increased Part Quality
Velo3D’s non-contact recoater enables the creation of “high aspect ratio features” like thin walls or pins. The increased gap between the blade and the powder bed diminishes the shearing forces generated during the recoating stage. As a result, these reduced forces are insufficient to cause deflection, deformation, or breakage of fragile, free-standing structures.