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Today, laser additive manufacturing (LAM) is used in more and more industrial applications. Due to a new freedom in design it offers a high potential for weight saving in lightweight applications, e.g., in the aerospace industry. However, most design engineers are used to design parts for conventional manufacturing methods, such as milling and casting, and often only have limited experience in designing products for additive manufacturing. The absence of comprehensive design guidelines is therefore limiting the further usage and distribution of LAM. In this paper, experimental investigations on the influence of part position and orientation on the dimension accuracy and surface quality are presented. Typical basic shapes used in lightweight design have been identified and built in LAM. Thin walls, bars, and bore holes with varying diameters were built in different orientations to determine the process limits. From the results of the experiments, comprehensive design guidelines for lightweight structures were derived in a catalog according to DIN 2222 and are presented in detail. For each structure a favorable and an unfavorable example is shown, the underlying process restrictions are mentioned and further recommendations are given.


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