"First time right prints - That is what we want to achieve in AM processes. How crucial is the powder bed to achieve that goal?"
The ways of powder application to achieve a homogeneous layer are crucial for resolution and quality of the part. Several recoater options have already emerged across machine manufacturers:
Steel and ceramic blade: Can drive the process engineer to madness. The parameters must be set optimally so that the process is not interrupted. Reproducibility of the coating application and homogeneity is very good, that's why it can be primarily used for serial applications.
Brush: A carbon brush is often used here. If you want to process steels with high build platform temperatures on your machine, this is a very good option for layer application. The process must also be optimally adjusted here so that you do not find any brush stripes in the powder bed after printing.
Rubber lip: Thin-walled structures and high volume can be built up very well with this type of recoater. It is particularly well suited for parameter studies, which process engineers love to use this device at the beginning of a material qualification. With regard to reproducibility and homogeneous quality of the powder bed, the parameters must also be optimally qualified here, in order to avoid stripes in the powder bed.
Which recoating mechanism is your favorite? I am curious about your experiences with the different recoater types. Which type do you use for process development?