# Getting Started with the Additive Manufacturing Module

## Welcome to the Getting Started Guide for the Additive Manufacturing Module

This guide is for those who are new to the Additive Manufacturing Module of Thermo-Calc and want a quick guide to get started with your calculations. You will learn how to set up a common workflow in the Additive Manufacturing Module, which involves calculations using the Steady-State and Transient with heat-source from steady-state simulation modes in the Graphical Mode of Thermo-Calc.

Use the side menu to the right to navigate through the different parts of the guide, or read the entire guide by just scrolling down on this page.

Note: In this guide, we assume that you know all the basics from the Getting Started Guide for Thermo-Calc. If you have not already read it, we recommend you do that before you begin this guide.

We hope you will find this guide helpful!

To set up any calculation using the Additive Manufacturing Module requires a separate license and a compatible database. For more information about licensing and requirements, see the Additive Manufacturing Module page. The Additive Manufacturing Module cannot be run in the free Educational Package.

If you have the required license and need help with the installation, read our installation guide or watch our installation videos.

## Getting Started in the AM Module Video

The AM Module Getting Started Guide is also available as a video, which uses the same example as the one written about on this page.

The Additive Manufacturing (AM) Module (also referred to as the AM Module) is an Add-on Module to Thermo-Calc and is available in Graphical Mode as the AM Calculator. The module has 3 simulation modes: Steady-State, Transient, and Transient with heat-source from Steady-State. This guide will walk you through how to set up a simulation using the Steady-state and the Transient with heat source from steady-state simulation modes. Steady-State solves the stationary problem for the melt pool given the Process Parameters. Transient and Transient with heat-source from Steady-State solves the time dependent problem for a single or multi-layer process for given Process Parameters.

The Transient simulation mode is not covered in this guide since the set-up is identical to Transient with heat source from steady-state. Transient calculations are of interest if you want a more accurate prediction of the start and end of each track in the scanning process. In general, Transient calculations are more time consuming than using the heat source from steady-state.

In this guide we will walk you through the set-up of a standard workflow in the AM Module by walking you step-by-step through setting up three common calculations – a steady state simulation and transient with heat source from steady-state simulation using both single track and multi-layers.

This guide will use the Ti64 alloy but the steps shown in this guide can be applied to other materials as well.

Composition of the Ti64 alloy [wt%]

The example simulation demonstrated  in this guide is based on the example AM_04_Scheil_TransientSS included in your installation. To learn how to run example files, see the Thermo-Calc Getting Started Guide.

## General Procedure

The general procedure of a simulation using the Additive Manufacturing Module is the following:

1. Define system
• Choose database
• Select elements and composition
2. Retrieve the materials data
• Either with a Scheil calculation or using the materials data library
• Apply data smoothing
3. Set up the AM Calculator
• Choose simulation mode
• Set simulation conditions
4. Run the simulation and visualize the results
• 3D plot
• Plot Over Line
• Plot at probe position
• Printability Map*
• Parity Plot*
• Melt Pool vs Energy Density*

*Only available with Batch and Grid Calculation types

## Define System and Retrieve Materials Data

### Choose Template

There are two ways to set up calculations in the Additive Manufacturing Module. The first, which we will not use in this guide, is to use the With Materials Library template from the home screen of the software. This is an easy way to set up an Additive Manufacturing simulation, but it requires materials libraries to run the simulations. The software is shipped with several common additive manufacturing alloys, and users can save their own materials. Once you save your materials in the software, you can use this method to save time and ensure consistency.

The second method, which we will use, is to use the Additive Manufacturing template. This gives us all the necessary nodes to set up an AM simulation without pre-saved materials data.

For this example:

• Click on the Additive Manufacturing template from the homescreen of the software.

### Define System

The first step of the set-up is to select which database to use and define the material for the simulation. This is done in the System Definer

For this example:

• Click on the System Definer node
• From the Databases dropdown menu, select the TCTI5 or TCTI6 database.
• In the periodic table, select the elements titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al), and vanadium (V) in that order.
• In the Material section, set the material composition. For this example, we will use the Ti64 alloy, so set the amount of aluminum to 6 wt% and the amount of vanadium to 4 wt%.

## Retrieve the Materials Data with the Scheil Calculator

Once you have defined your system, you need to retrieve the materials data necessary for the AM calculations. This is done using the Scheil Calculator.

### About the Scheil Calculator Settings

The Scheil Calculator in the Additive Manufacturing Module template is configured to generate the data necessary for the AM calculation. It is configured to start the simulation at a temperature of 5000 degrees and capture the evaporation and calculate the material properties down to room temperature. If you add a Scheil Calculator manually from the System Definer, you will need to change these settings yourself. If you are working with different materials, different settings might be more suitable to your material. You can check our documentation to see which settings are recommended for various materials.

For this example:

• Accept the default settings and perform the calculation before moving on to the AM Calculator. Right-click on the Scheil Calculator node and click Perform Now to only perform the Scheil calculation, and not the entire tree.

### Choose Materials Data Source

Once the simulation is complete, click on the AM Calculator 1 node and then the Materials Properties tab to see the material property data obtained from the Scheil calculation. In the Material Properties tab, you can plot the properties required for the AM simulation. This is also where you select the data source that will be used in the simulation. In the Use data from: drop-down list you can choose either Scheil Calculator or Library. The Scheil Calculator option uses the Scheil results that you just calculated, while the Library option uses the data that was shipped with the software or previously calculated data that you have saved to the Library.

For this example:

• Select Scheil Calculator from the drop-down list.

### Apply Data Smoothing

Before you run the AM Calculator, it is important that the data you will base the AM calculation on does not have any sharp peaks or curves to be able to solve the numerical problem. To avoid this, you can apply Smoothing to your data. The default setting is Little Smoothing but this can be changed depending on your simulation.

To determine how much smoothing to apply, you can plot the different properties. In the Plot drop-down list you can select which property you want to plot to check the data and if there are any sharp peaks or curves in the plot. The plot appears immediately when you select a property. It is recommended to try running the simulations with only applying Little Smoothing. If the calculation fails, you can increase the smoothing and try again.

For this example:

• Use the default setting, which is Little smoothing.

## Set Up a Steady-State Simulation

As a first step, we want to set up a simple steady-state simulation before performing simulations with increasing complexity.

Steady-state simulations are useful to get an estimation of the temperature distribution and size of the melt pool.

In the AM Calculator, click the Conditions tab. Here you can select which simulation mode to use and simulation conditions.

There are three different simulation modes available: Steady-state, Transient, and Transient with Heat Source from Steady-state.

In the Steady-state mode it is assumed that the temperature distribution and the fluid flow around the heat source is in steady state and does not change with time.

In the Transient mode, you can perform full-scale transient simulations in a 3D rectangular build part and have the possibility to specify a scanning strategy comprising multiple tracks and multiple layers.

In order to perform full scale 3D simulations in an efficient manner, with multitracks and multilayers, including fluid flow in the melt pool or with powder layer(s) having different properties than the solid material, you can use the Transient with heat source from Steady-state mode.

### Set Simulation Conditions

The Global Settings are the general settings for the simulation. Here you can change the gas pressure and the temperature of the chamber and the base plate. You can also select to perform the simulation with fluid flow in the melt pool or with powder layer(s) having different properties than the solid material.

This is also where you change the size of the geometry and the coarseness of the mesh. The mesh is adaptive, which means that the software automatically uses a finer mesh where it is necessary, for example, the area around the heat source.

You can also change the heat source settings and the scanning strategy. These settings should be changed to match your process parameters. There are three different heat source models available: Gaussian, Double-ellipsoidal, and Conical. You can read more about these different models in the Online Help.

It is also possible to change the boundary conditions for the simulation.

For this example:

• Select the Steady-state simulation mode. This is the simplest simulation mode and gives a good overview of your melt pool dimensions.
• Use the Gaussian heat source model and change the power to 100 W, the absorptivity to 40, and the beam radius to 100 µm.
• Change the Scanning speed to 600 mm/s and the layer thickness to 55 µm.
• Leave the rest as it is and right-click on the AM Calculator 1 node and click Perform Now to only perform the AM simulation.

## Result of the Steady-state Simulation

Once the simulation is complete, click on the  Plot Renderer node. Keep the default settings and click Perform at the bottom center of the program. This will populate the simulation result as a 3D plot in the Visualizations window.

### 3D Plot

The 3D plot shows how the temperature varies in the build part in the form of a color map. Click the button to zoom to the heat source position. The arrows in the plot demonstrate the fluid flow in the liquid and the contour lines show the solidus and liquidus lines. Hence, the mushy zone is the area between the two contour lines.

As seen in the 3D plot, the glyphs (arrows) showing the fluid flow in the liquid are too large to distinguish. Therefore, change the Glyph scale factor to 0.3 (done in the Configuration window of the Plot Renderer).

This plot makes it easy to measure the size of the melt pool. To measure the melt pool, click from the top panel. You can also measure the size of the melt pool + mushy zone by clicking . The result is also shown in the Event Log where you can copy the information to store it elsewhere.

The result only shows half of the build part, but you can easily show the entire part by clicking

### Plot Over Line

In the Plot Renderer, you have a second tab named Plot Over Line. This plot demonstrates how the properties vary along a line. To add this plot,  click on the Plot Over Line tab and check the box next to the plus and minus signs.

By default, the variation of temperature is shown in the plot. You can change which property to plot by clicking the Quantity drop-down list. The dashed lines show the transition temperatures.

In the 3D plot, you can move the line to look at the properties at other positions. You can also change the coordinates in the Configuration window to move the line. The Plot Over Line plot is automatically updated with the result at the new line position.

## Set up a Single Track Simulation

When we see that the Steady-state simulation runs okay, we are ready to move on to a single track simulation using the Transient with heat source from steady-state simulation mode.

Performing a single track process is a common experimental set-up to test process parameters before starting the build process.

We want to use the same system and data as for the steady-state simulation. Therefore, we can clone the AM Calculator we set up for the steady-state simulation. To do this, right-click on the AM Calculator 1 and click Clone Tree. This will clone the AM Calculator and the Plot Renderer.

### Set Simulation Conditions

Click on the AM Calculator you just cloned. In the Configuration window, select the Transient with heat source from Steady-state simulation mode. You will then see that there are more configuration settings compared to the settings for the steady-state calculation. There are additional options for the geometry and scanning strategy. Additionally, there is an option to add Probes which stores data at a specific geometric point.

For this example:

• Change the geometry width to 1 mm and the length to 3 mm.
• Under Scanning Strategy, change the margin to 0.75, which is the offset of the laser scanning path from the sides of the computational domain (the geometry).
• Under Probe Position, click on the plus sign to add a second probe and click the white boxes to activate them. Change the coordinates to the following:
Probe 1: x = 1.3, y = 0.5, z = 2.055
Probe 2: x = 1.7, y = 0.5, z = 2.055

You can also use the Pick coordinates option to place the probes. Click and then, in the visualizations window, double-click on the position you want the probe to be placed.

When all settings are set, right-click on the AM Calculator 2 node and click Perform now to run the simulation.

## Result of the Single Track Simulation

In Plot Renderer 2, keep the default setting and click Perform to populate the result in the Visualizations window. As with the steady-state simulation, the results can be shown as a 3D plot and a Plot Over Line. The difference is that it is possible to see the evolution of temperature with time and how the laser beam moves in the 3D plot. To see this, click on the 3D Plot tab in the visualizations window, then click the play button at the top of the Configuration window.

You can also show a specific time step by selecting a time in the drop down list.

To see the Plot Over Line, go to the Plot Over Line tab and move the line to the position you want to investigate.

### Plot at Probe Position

Since we added probes for this simulation, we can also plot the result at the positions of those probes. In the Configuration window, we have a third tab named Probe. The probe plot shows the temperature profile for all timesteps at the specific point that we selected in the AM Calculator. You can plot surface tension and thermal conductivity as well.

For this example:

• Click on the Probe tab and select the property you want to plot for Probe 1.
• We used two probes in the simulation set-up. Click on the plus sign and select Probe 2 in the drop-down list to add the second probe to the plot.

## Set up a Multi-Layer Simulation

When the single track simulation is complete, we can move on to a more complex simulation – a simulation over multiple layers. This is done with the Transient with heat-source from Steady-state simulation mode, just as for the single-track simulation.

Multi-layer simulations are useful for understanding how the material behaves during the scanning of multiple layers.

We want to use the same system and data as for the single track simulation. Therefore, we can clone AM Calculator 2 that we set up for the single-track simulation. Right-click on the AM Calculator 2 node and click Clone Tree

### Set Simulation Conditions

Click on the AM Calculator you just cloned (AM Calculator 3). In the Configuration window, make sure the Transient with heat source from Steady-state simulation mode is selected. To perform a multi-layer simulation, we need to change the scanning pattern and add layers.

There are three different scanning patterns available: single track, bidirectional, and unidirectional. Both bidirectional and unidirectional use multiple tracks, where unidirectional means that all tracks move in the same direction and bidirectional means that the tracks move in two opposite directions.

For this example:

• Change the geometry width and length to 2.5 mm.
• Change the pattern to Bidirectional and set the Hatch spacing to 0.14 mm, and the Lift time to 2.5e-4 s.
• Change the Number of layers to 2 and set the Powder fill time to 2 s, and the Rotation between layers to 45 degrees.
• Change the probe positions to the following coordinates:
Probe 1: x = 1.25, y = 1.25, z = 2.055
Probe 2: x = 1.25, y = 1.25, z = 2.11
This will place a probe in the middle of each layer.

When all settings are set, right-click on the AM Calculator 3 node and click Perform Tree to run the simulation.

Note: This simulation takes around 15 minutes to complete depending on your system.

## Result of the Multi-layer Simulation

In Plot Renderer 3, keep the default settings and click Perform to populate the result in the Visualizations window. The results are shown as a 3D plot, just as for the other calculations. However, here it is possible to see how the laser beam moves in different directions over the two layers. To view this, click on the play button at the top of the Configuration window.

The results can also be viewed as a Plot Over Line and a Probe plot, as with the two previous simulations.

Note: The Transient simulation mode is not covered in this guide since the set-up is identical to Transient with heat source from steady-state. Transient calculations are of interest if you want a more accurate prediction of the start and end of each track in the scanning process. In general, Transient calculations are more time consuming than using the heat source from steady-state.

## Where to Find Help and Resources

In the online help, you can browse the menus and search for keywords and phrases to find the information you are looking for. It contains the same documentation that is also installed in folders with your software. The online help system opens in your internet browser, but the files are stored locally on your computer, so you do not need an internet connection to use it.

### Example Calculations

All Thermo-Calc installations include example files. The Graphical Mode examples are available for Thermo‑Calc and the Add-on Modules. There are also examples for Property Models, including the Steel Model Library and more. The Console Mode examples are available for Thermo‑Calc and the Diffusion Module (DICTRA).

The example files for the Additive Manufacturing Module are found by navigating to the Help menu > Example Files… > Additive Manufacturing

If you are in Console Mode, the console mode examples will open, and if you are in Graphical Mode, the graphical mode examples will open.

### Video Tutorials

We provide videos explaining how to make different thermodynamic calculations, diffusion simulations, and precipitation simulations using Thermo-Calc software. Our videos also teach you how to install Thermo-Calc and will keep you up-to-date on the latest releases and additions to the software and the newest thermodynamic, properties, and kinetic databases.

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Visit the Thermo-Calc Learning Hub

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