Areal topography measurement of metal additive surfaces using focus variation microscopy

Lewis Newton, Nicola Senin, Carlos Gomez, Reinhard Danzl, Franz Helmli, Liam Blunt, Richard Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, the performance of a focus variation instrument for measurement of areal topography of metal additive surfaces was investigated. Samples were produced using both laser and electron beam powder bed fusion processes with some of the most common additive materials: Al-Si-10Mg, Inconel 718 and Ti-6Al-4V. Surfaces parallel and orthogonal to the build direction were investigated. Measurement performance was qualified by visually inspecting the topographic models obtained from measurement and quantified by computing the number of non-measured data points, by estimating local repeatability error in topography height determination and by computing the value of the areal field texture parameter Sa. Variations captured through such indicators were investigated as focus variation-specific measurement control parameters were varied. Changes in magnification, illumination type, vertical resolution and lateral resolution were investigated. The experimental campaign was created through full factorial design of experiments, and regression models were used to link the selected measurement process control parameters to the measured performance indicators. The results indicate that focus variation microscopy measurement of metal additive surfaces is robust to changes of the measurement control parameters when the Sa texture parameter is considered, with variations confined to sub-micrometre scales and within 5% of the average parameter value for the same surface and objective. The number of non-measured points and the local repeatability error were more affected by the choice of measurement control parameters. However, such changes could be predicted by the regression models, and proved consistent once material, type of additive process and orientation of the measured surface are set.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-389
Number of pages25
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
Early online date15 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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