The HSS manufacturing process
In common with all Additive Manufacturing techniques, the HSS manufacturing process starts with a 3D CAD model which is sliced into discrete layers typically 100μm thick. Each discrete layer is then converted into a monochromatic bitmap image and uploaded onto the HSS machine.
The machine is then prepared for building and the part bed preheated to just below the polymer's melt temperature. Geometries are then manufactured using a build cycle which is represented within the video below.
The first section of the build cycle starts with the roller assembly traversing from left to right depositing a new layer of powder onto the part bed. The roller assembly then travels back in the opposite direction and in this swathe, the print heads jet the first of the monochromatic bitmap images onto the part bed using a Radiation Absorbent Material (RAM). Simultaneously the Infra-Red (IR) lamp exposes the entire part bed to IR energy.
Within this part of the cycle the RAM absorbs sufficient thermal energy from the tailored IR lamp to cause underlying polymer particles to melt and fuse together, creating a 2D layer. Conversely, although subject to the same amount of thermal energy, the unprinted regions within the part bed do not absorb sufficient energy to fuse together and consequently, remain as a powder and support the geometries being manufactured.
The entire cycle is then repeated, printing and sintering new layers together and to the layers below until all geometries have been manufactured. The machine is then left to cool down, parts are removed from the cake and cleaned.