Machinability of INCONEL718 Alloy with a Porous Microstructure Produced by Laser Melting Powder Bed Fusion at Higher Energy Densities
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Products produced by additive manufacturing (AM) seek to exploit net shape manufacturing by eliminating or minimizing post-process stages such as machining. However, many applications which include turbo machinery components with tight dimensional tolerances and a smooth surface finish will require at least a light machine finishing stage. This paper investigates the machinability of the additively fabricated INCONEL718 (IN718) alloy produced by laser melting powder bed fusion (LM-PBF) with different levels of spherical porosity in the microstructure. The literature suggests that the band width for laser energy density, which combines the various scan process parameters to obtain a low spherical type porosity in the LM-PBF IN718 alloy (~1%), has wide breadth. With the increasing laser energy density and above a threshold, there is a rapid increase in the spherical pore size. In this paper, three tube samples each with different levels of spherical porosity were fabricated by varying the laser energy density for LM-PBF of the IN718 alloy within the stable and higher energy density range and the porosity measured. A low laser energy density was avoided due to balling up, which promotes highly irregular lack of fusion defects and poor consolidation within the alloy microstructure. An orthogonal turning test instrumented, with a three-component dynamometer to measure the cutting forces, was performed on AM produced IN718 tube samples under light cut conditions to simulate a finish machining process. The orthogonal turning tests were also performed on a tube sample obtained from the wrought extruded stock. The machining process parameters, which were studied include varying the cutting speed at three levels, at a fixed feed and under dry cut conditions for a short duration to avoid the tool wear. The results obtained were discussed and a notable finding was the higher rate of built-up-edge formation on the tool tip from the AM samples with a higher porosity and especially at a higher cutting speed. The paper also discusses the mechanisms that underpin the findings.