In some 3D printing/additive manufacturing processes, the object goes under repeated expansion and contraction from the heating and cooling of the build process. This repeated heating and cooling can lead to residual stress—a result that shows up as cracks, warpage, and other forms of deformation in an object. In these situations, the additive process is exceeding the tensile strength of the material or the printing substrate.
In some cases, support structures can reduce this stress on the part. Other techniques are to decrease a laser’s scan vector length or preheat the substrate and the build material before the build begins.
Build orientation and support structures can help reduce the occurrence of residual stress. In some cases, the support structures can conduct heat away from parts of the object.