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Areal topography measurement of metal additive surfaces using focus variation microscopy

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

Areal topography measurement of metal additive surfaces using focus variation microscopy Thumbnail


Lewis Newton

Nicola Senin

Carlos Gomez

Reinhard Danzl

Franz Helmli

Liam Blunt


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.


Newton, L., Senin, N., Gomez, C., Danzl, R., Helmli, F., Blunt, L., & Leach, R. (2019). Areal topography measurement of metal additive surfaces using focus variation microscopy. Additive Manufacturing, 25, 365-389.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 15, 2018
Publication Date 2019-01
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2018
Journal Additive Manufacturing
Print ISSN 2214-8604
Electronic ISSN 2214-8604
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Pages 365-389
Keywords Additive manufacturing; Laser powder bed fusion; Electron beam powder bed fusion; Surface metrology; Focus variation microscopy
Public URL
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