Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is finding an expanding role in the manufacturing process. There are many different types of 3D printing methods used to physically create a desired object. In this application note, we will focus on powder bed 3D printing, which uses heat from a laser-beam, electron-beam, or a thermal printhead to melt material together and create a solid object.
To optimize 3D printing performance, the laser- and electron-beam optics must be efficiently cooled. Precise cooling is also needed to help control the viscosity of the liquid powder as it is dispensed onto the surface of the thermal printhead. Power sources often need to be cooled as well. Refrigerated chiller systems are the usual method for cooling the thermally sensitive additive manufacturing system, while thermoelectric coolers can also be used for spot cooling components.