Selective laser melting (SLM) is one of the most interesting technologies used in rapid prototyping processes because of the possibility of building complex three-dimensional metal parts of nearly full density and with mechanical properties similar to those obtained with conventional manufacturing processes. This goal can be achieved using high-power lasers and low values of scan velocity. These conditions, together with an appropriate scanning strategy, allow full melting of the powders used in the process to be obtained. The aim of this paper is to investigate the residual stresses in SLM specimens manufactured from AISI Marage 300 steel. First, the strain gauge hole drilling method is utilized to determine residual stress profiles in a set of test samples of different thicknesses, placed in different positions on the building platform. Statistical analyses are performed in order to study the relationships between sample position on the platform, the distance from the specimen surface, and maximum/minimum principal residual stresses. The experimental results show that the melting/solidification mechanism generates highly variable thermal residual stresses in the SLM parts used in this study.
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