Toward in-situ flaw detection in laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing through layerwise imagery and machine learning

Zackary Snow, Brett Diehl, Edward W. Reutzel, Abdalla Nassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Process monitoring in additive manufacturing may allow components to be certified cheaply and rapidly and opens the possibility of healing defects, if detected. Here, neural networks (NNs) and convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are trained to detect flaws in layerwise images of a build, using labeled XCT data as a ground truth. Multiple images were recorded after each layer before and after recoating with various lighting conditions. Classifying networks were given a single image or multiple images of various lighting conditions for training and testing. CNNs demonstrated significantly better performance than NNs across all tasks. Furthermore, CNNs demonstrated improved generalizability, i.e., the ability to generalize to more diverse data than either the training or validation data sets. Specifically, CNNs trained on high-resolution layerwise images from one build showed minimal loss in performance when applied to data from an independent build, whereas the performance of the NNs degraded significantly. CNN accuracy was also demonstrated to be a function of flaw size, suggesting that smaller flaws may be produced by mechanisms that do not alter the surface morphology of the build plate. CNNs demonstrated accuracies of 93.5 % on large (>200 μm) flaws when testing and training on components from the same build and accuracies of 87.3 % when testing on a previously unseen build. Finally, evidence linking the formation of large lack-of-fusion defects to the presence of process ejecta is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-26
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Systems
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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