Calculation of Build Time

Build Time is the sum of the times taken by the laser to sinter each layer and the change over time between successive layers. This tool slices the body into several layers based on the specified layer thickness. The laser path in each layer is traced and the total sintering area and the sintering time across all the layers is computed. The user can specify different build direction, slice thickness, laser parameters (diameter, speed, overlap) and hatch pattern to perform analysis and identify the build parameters which result in minimum build time for a given part.

Installation Manual

1. Download and extract the contents of the .zip file named Build

2. Open the extracted folder named Build Time.

3. Open the folder named ug_customization. Right click on the Windows Batch File named nx and open with Notepad/Notepad++.

4. Find the current file path of the nx file in your computer (Right click >> Properties). Copy the file path and paste it in the first line (the highlighted portion in the notepad as shown below).

Notepad view showing path and version

Figure 1

5. Change the version of Siemens NX to the one you are using (module works for Siemens NX 10.0, 11.0, and 12.0) in the third line of the notepad file (as highlighted below).

Notepad view showing version

Figure 2

Once these steps are carried out, you have completed the installation procedures before launching the application.

6. Now, double-click nx to launch the Windows Batch File. This will launch the Siemens NX window and a terminal window (you can minimize it or close it – it contains the information you input in steps 4 and 5). You may notice the UC AM Modules tab in the top toolbar. Click on it. The Build Time module will be visible.

7. Before using the module, user is supposed to import/create a Parasolid File of a part within Siemens NX. For illustration purposes, the Part File (. prt) and Parasolid File (.x_t) is given in the folder named Example Parts. Import the Parasolid file into Siemens NX. Follow the step mentioned below to import a Parasolid file of the part.
Open >> (Choose the file location of Build Time Folder) >>
Example Parts >> Part_1.x_t >> Ok

Build time icon

8. Once the file is opened in Siemens NX, you can click on Build Time button on the Command Ribbon. The button will look like this >>

NX API based GUI

Figure 3

9. The Build Time GUI is shown in the adjacent figure. The detailed explanation of each option in the GUI is given below.

a. Select Body
This option is used to select the body for which support structures need to be visualized.

b. Specify Build Direction
The direction of build (manufacture) is specified which the help of a vector.

c. Slice thickness
The body is sliced in to layers based on the specified slice thickness.

d. Laser Diameter
To calculate the path traced by the laser on every layer the laser diameter is used.

e. Laser Speed
The Laser Speed affects the sintering time of the laser across all the layers.

f. Laser Overlap
The actual displacement of the laser in each traversal is calculated based on the laser  Overlap

g. Change Overtime for each layer
The total Change Overtime is the product of number of layers with the Change Overtime for each layer.

h. Hatch Angle
The path traced by the laser on each layer is determined by the hatch angle, the angle made by the laser with the +X axis

10. The output window of the Build Time module is shown below. The results consist of number of layers in which the part is built, total laser path distance, the sintering time and total time taken to build the part. The path traced by the laser is highlighted in green points on the contour of every slice.

Please watch the video tutorial of the module conducted on an example part given with the module.

Contour points (green) traced by laser in each layer

Figure 4

Contour points (green) traced by laser in each layer 

Output from the GUI

Output from the GUI

Example Problem

Use the Parasolid File named Part_1.x_t in the Example Parts folder attached in the Build Time module folder that you have extracted from the website.

Try out the following input configurations to note the changes in number of layers, total laser path, sintering time and the total time taken to build the part.

  1. Specify the build orientation as + Z axis. Input Slice thickness as 1.00 mm.
    Specify Laser parameters as follows:
    Laser Diameter: 1.0 mm
    Laser Speed: 10 mm/sec
    Laser Overlap: 0.2 mm
    Change Overtime for each layer: 10 sec
    Hatch Angle: 450 with +X axis
  2.  Specify the build orientation as + X axis. Input Slice thickness as 2.0 mm.
    Specify Laser parameters as follows:
    Laser Diameter: 0.5 mm
    Laser Speed: 5 mm/sec
    Laser Overlap: 0.1 mm
    Change Overtime for each layer: 10 sec
    Hatch Angle: 1350 with +X axis