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Title:
SYSTEM FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING OF A METAL ARTICLE AND A METHOD THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/141542
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for additive manufacturing of a metal article includes: a metal additive manufacturing workstation including a metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate an intermediate metal workpiece having the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and a removal workstation including a fluid jetting tool to remove the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article. An additive manufacturing method for a metal article corresponding to the system.

Inventors:
WATERHOUSE MATTHEW (SG)
Application Number:
PCT/SG2021/050014
Publication Date:
July 15, 2021
Filing Date:
January 08, 2021
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
3D METALFORGE PTE LTD (SG)
International Classes:
B29C64/40; B29C64/245; B29C71/00; B29C64/30; B33Y10/00; B33Y30/00; B33Y40/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2019224556A12019-11-28
Foreign References:
FR3064519A12018-10-05
US20170239893A12017-08-24
CN106985084A2017-07-28
CN108790181A2018-11-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VIERING, JENTSCHURA & PARTNER LLP (SG)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A system for additive manufacturing of a metal article, the system comprising: a metal additive manufacturing workstation comprising a metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate an intermediate metal workpiece having the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and a removal workstation comprising a fluid jetting tool to remove the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article.

2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the metal additive manufacturing apparatus comprises a powder bed fusion apparatus.

3. The system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, further comprising a processing unit, wherein the processing unit is connected to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus to provide instructions for fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece, and wherein the processing unit is connected to the fluid jetting tool to provide instructions for operating the fluid jetting tool to project a jet of fluid from a fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece for breaking off the at least one metal support structure from the metal article.

4. The system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the processing unit is configured to generate a base model for the intermediate metal workpiece by adding a support region to a model of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication, apply a pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region so as to define the at least one metal support structure and to generate a final model of the intermediate metal workpiece comprising the metal article and the at least one metal support structure, and send the instructions to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate the intermediate metal workpiece based on the final model, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters is based on an operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool such that the at least one metal support structure is fabricated in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool.

5. The system as claimed in claim 4, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters comprises one or a combination of: a pre-determined range of cross section dimensions of each metal support structure, a pre-determined range of sizes of contact point between each metal support structure and the metal article, a pre-determined range of a number of metal support structures in each support cluster, or a pre-determined range of spacing distances between support clusters.

6. The system as claimed in claim 4 or 5, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters is further based on a fabricability of the at least one metal support structure by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus.

7. The system as claimed in any one of claims 4 to 6, wherein the removal workstation comprises an enclosure defining a chamber; and a first manipulator disposed inside the enclosure, wherein the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool is movable by the first manipulator within the chamber.

8. The system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the processing unit is connected to the first manipulator to provide instructions for moving the first manipulator so as to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece.

9 The system as claimed in claim 8, wherein the processing unit is configured to generate a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and send the instructions to the first manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece based on the nozzle toolpath.

10. The system as claimed in claim 8 or 9, wherein the removal workstation further comprises a second manipulator disposed inside the enclosure, the second manipulator operable to hold the intermediate metal workpiece.

11. The system as claimed in claim 10, wherein the processing unit is connected to the second manipulator to provide instructions for moving the second manipulator so as to move the intermediate metal workpiece held by the second manipulator relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

12. The system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the processing unit is configured to generate a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and send the instructions to the second manipulator to move the intermediate metal workpiece relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool based on the workpiece toolpath so as to remove the at least one metal support structure. 13. The system as claimed in claim 11 or 12, wherein the processing unit is configured to send the instructions to one or both of the first manipulator and the second manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other for removal of the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece.

14. The system as claimed in claim 12 in combination with claim 9, wherein the processing unit is configured to send the instructions to the first manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece based on the nozzle toolpath, and subsequently send the instructions to the second manipulator to move the intermediate metal workpiece relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool based on the workpiece toolpath.

15. The system as claimed in claim 9, 13 or 14, wherein the removal workstation further comprising a sensing arrangement connected to the processing unit, wherein the sensing arrangement is configured to sense whether removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed after the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece are moved relative to each other.

16. The system as claimed in claim 15, wherein, when the sensing arrangement senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure is incomplete, the processing unit is configured to repeat sending instructions to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure.

17. The system as claimed in any claim 16, wherein, when the sensing arrangement senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed, the processing unit is configured to send instructions to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article.

18. An additive manufacturing method for a metal article, comprising: fabricating, via a metal additive manufacturing apparatus, an intermediate metal workpiece, wherein the intermediate metal workpiece comprises the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and removing, via a fluid jetting tool, the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article.

19. The method as claimed in claim 18, wherein fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece comprises fabricating the at least one metal support structure based on a pre determined set of design parameters, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters is based on an operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool such that the at least one metal support structure is fabricated in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool.

20. The method as claimed in claim 19, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters comprises one or a combination of: a pre-determined range of cross section dimensions of each metal support structure, a pre-determined range of sizes of contact point between each metal support structure and the metal article, a pre-determined range of a number of metal support structures in each support cluster, or a pre-determined range of spacing distances between support clusters.

21. The method as claimed in claim 19 or 20, wherein fabricating the at least one metal support structure based on the pre-determined set of design parameters comprises generating a base model for the intermediate metal workpiece by adding a support region to a model of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; applying the pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region so as to define the at least one metal support structure and to generate a final model of the intermediate metal workpiece comprising the metal article and the at least one metal support structure; fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece based on the final model.

22. The method as claimed in any one of claims 19 to 21, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters is further based on a fabricability of the at least one metal support structure by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus.

23. The method as claimed in any one of claims 18 to 22, wherein removing the at least one metal support structure comprises moving a fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other in a manner such that a jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece for breaking off the at least one metal support structure from the metal article.

24. The method as claimed in claim 23, wherein removing the at least one metal support structure comprises aligning the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece prior to moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other.

25. The method as claimed in claim 23 or 24, wherein moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other comprises moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via a first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece. 26. The method as claimed in claim 25 in combination with claim 21, wherein moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece comprises generating a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece for removing the at least one metal support structure.

27. The method as claimed in claim 23 or 24, wherein moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other comprises moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via a second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

28. The method as claimed in claim 27 in combination with claim 21, wherein moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool comprises generating a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool for removing the at least one metal support structure.

29. The method as claimed in claim 23 or 24, wherein moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other comprises moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via a first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece and subsequently moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via a second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

30. The method as claimed in claim 29 in combination with claim 21, wherein moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece comprises generating a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece so as to remove the at least one metal support structure, and wherein subsequently moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool comprises generating a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

31. The method as claimed in any one of claims 23 to 30, wherein removing the at least one metal support structure further comprises determining whether removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed after moving of the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other.

32. The method as claimed in claim 31, wherein removing the at least one metal support structure further comprises repeating moving of the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other when the removal of the at least one metal support structure is determined to be incomplete. 33. The method as claimed in claim 31 or 32, wherein determining whether the removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed is via a sensing arrangement.

34. The method as claimed in any one of claims 18 to 33, further comprising finishing, via the fluid jetting tool, all surfaces of the metal article after the at least one metal support structure is removed.

Description:
SYSTEM FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING OF A METAU ARTICUE AND A

METHOD THEREOF

Cross-reference to Related Application

[0001] This application claims the benefit of priority of Singapore patent application no. 10202000236U, filed on 10 January 2020, the contents of which being hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

Technical Field

[0002] Various embodiments generally relate to a system for additive manufacturing of a metal article and an additive manufacturing method of a metal article.

Background

[0003] Common additive manufacturing process for metal includes, but not limited to, the powder bed fusion (PBF) process and the directed energy deposition process. Typically, when built parts (or metal articles or metal parts) are printed or fabricated by the metal additive manufacturing process, metal support structures are required to be fabricated along with the built parts. These metal support structures are generally normal or perpendicular to a substrate or a print bed and extend upwards to the built part (or the metal article or the metal part). Sometimes, these metal support structures are also required to extend from a section of the built part to another section of the built part. Examples of metal support structures 104 for a built part 102 are shown in FIG. 1.

[0004] Generally, the metal support structures perform a number of critical functions for the metal additive manufacturing process. Firstly, the metal support structures serve to manage the dissipation of heat from sections of the built part. During production, intense quantities of laser power are focused on the metal and when the part cools this can lead to distortion of the built part. This is especially prevalent in larger “blocky” areas and in small fine-featured areas. The metal support structures are capable of dissipating the build-up of heat to prevent distortion. Secondly, due to the density of built metal vs powder metal and the action of the wiper arm in the apparatus for metal additive manufacturing (or the metal additive manufacturing printer), areas of unsupported metal can only exist for very short distances and up to vary specific angles. Typically, unsupported sections beyond 1.4mm are extremely difficult to be printed or fabricated without the metal support structures, and angles beyond 45° are required to be supported. Thirdly, some specific shapes are also difficult to be fabricated or printed or built to a suitable level of accuracy by the metal additive manufacturing process. An example is an oval opening, whereby the metal support structures are required to ensure ovality. [0005] Since, the metal support structures are not part of the built part (or the metal article or the metal part), the metal support structures have to be removed. The conventional approach to removing metal support structures is highly manual and time consuming leading to a major cost contribution. The metal support structures are typically removed one by one using metal working equipment. This removal process usually leaves a rough burr that needs to be ground back to shape, which is often worked by hand due to the accessibility.

[0006] The above need for metal support structures removal and the manual removal process resulted in substantial increase in cost of production for the built part (or the metal article or the metal part) via the metal additive manufacturing process. For example, many built parts require metal support structures in order to be fabricated or printed, but these support structures can be in locations that is extremely difficult to access for removal or even impossible to be removed, such as inner surfaces of closed impellers, or can be required in large numbers, resulting in the cost of removal becoming prohibitive. In some cases, the costs of metal support structures removal can be extremely high, often higher than the cost of fabricating or printing via the metal additive manufacturing process. Thus, the metal support structures can have a large impact on the viability of fabricating or printing the built parts via the metal additive manufacturing process.

[0007] Accordingly, there is a need for a more effective and versatile solution to address the above issues. Summary

[0008] According to various embodiments, there is provided a system for additive manufacturing of a metal article, the system including: a metal additive manufacturing workstation including a metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate an intermediate metal workpiece having the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and a removal workstation including a fluid jetting tool to remove the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article. [0009] According to various embodiments, there is provided an additive manufacturing method for a metal article, the method including fabricating, via a metal additive manufacturing apparatus, an intermediate metal workpiece, wherein the intermediate metal workpiece comprises the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and removing, via a fluid jetting tool, the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article.

Brief description of the drawings

[00010] In the drawings, like reference characters generally refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the following description, various embodiments are described with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows example of a metal support structures for a built part;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic diagram of a system for additive manufacturing of a metal article according to various embodiments;

FIG. 3 shows a schematic flow diagram of an additive manufacturing method for the metal article according to various embodiments;

FIG. 4 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for fabricating an intermediate metal workpiece according to the method of FIG. 3 according to the various embodiments;

FIG. 5 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for generating one or more toolpaths according to the method of FIG. 3 according to various embodiments;

FIG. 6 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for removing the at least one metal support structure according to the method of FIG. 3 according to various embodiments; and

FIG. 7 shows a model of a metal article produced by the system of FIG. 2 and the method of FIG. 3 according to various embodiments.

Detailed description

[00011] Embodiments described below in the context of the apparatus are analogously valid for the respective methods, and vice versa. Furthermore, it will be understood that the embodiments described below may be combined, for example, a part of one embodiment may be combined with a part of another embodiment.

[00012] It should be understood that the terms “on”, “over”, “top”, “bottom”, “down”, “side”, “back”, “left”, “right”, “front”, “lateral”, “side”, “up”, “down” etc., when used in the following description are used for convenience and to aid understanding of relative positions or directions, and not intended to limit the orientation of any device, or structure or any part of any device or structure. In addition, the singular terms “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural references unless context clearly indicates otherwise. Similarly, the word “or” is intended to include “and” unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

[00013] Various embodiments generally relate to an additive manufacturing method of a metal article and a system for additive manufacturing of a metal article. According to various embodiments, additive manufacturing refers to building of three dimensional objects in a layer by layer approach. Various embodiments are directed to the method and system using metal for additive manufacturing of the metal article. According to various embodiments, the metal for additive manufacturing may include, but not limited to, titanium, steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, gold, platinum, palladium, silver, cobalt chrome alloy, titanium alloy, aluminum alloy, or nickel-based alloy (such as Inconel). According to various embodiments, additive manufacturing of the metal article may include, but not limited to, the powder bed fusion (PBF) process or the directed energy deposition process. [00014] In the additive manufacturing method and the system for additive manufacturing of the various embodiments, a complete additive manufacturing process from fabrication or printing to removal of metal support structures may be included so as to provide a holistic or comprehensive method and system for producing the metal article from raw materials to a finished product. According to various embodiments, the method and system may be a semi- automated or fully automated process.

[00015] According to various embodiments, the method and system may provide a new way of creating or generating metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing. According to various embodiments, the method and system may also provide a new way of removing metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing. According to various embodiments, the method and system may be configured for high through-put and low cost, in a manner so as to avoid the issues of the conventional processes, so as to be suitable for application in industrial production of metal articles via metal additive manufacturing. Hence, the method and system of the various embodiments may accelerate the productivity of metal additive manufacturing to the industrial production level.

[00016] According to various embodiments, the method and system may include mechanical removal of the metal support structures using fluid jetting, e.g. high pressure water jetting, and generating metal support structures that can be removed by fluid jetting. Accordingly, the metal support structures fabricated or printed along with the metal articles may be easily removed and may be removed within a shorter time-frame, thus lowering costs and increasing output of the metal articles. According to various embodiments, the method and system may open up a wider variety of metal articles fabricable or printable, which would otherwise be considered, based on conventional metal additive manufacturing, either technically not printable due to the difficulty of access for support structure removal and/or printable or not cost effective to be produced due to the high cost of support structure removal.

[00017] According to various embodiments, the method and system seek to provide a leap in advancement of metal additive manufacturing by applying new ways of creating or generating metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing as well as removing metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing which are unheard of in the field of metal additive manufacturing. According to various embodiments, the method and system may include the highly innovative removal of metal support structures by fluid jetting in combination with generating or creating the metal support structures specifically for fluid jetting removal, as well as generating or creating a removal toolpath based on the metal support structures for actual removal with the fluid jetting.

[00018] According to various embodiments, the method and system may be fully automated in that the entire process from generating or creating the metal support structures specifically for fluid jetting removal to actual removal of the metal support structures by fluid jetting may be automated. According to various embodiments, the method and system may be semi- automated in that the fabrication process from generating or creating the metal support structures specifically for fluid jetting removal to fabrication of the metal article along with the metal support structures may be automated, and the removal process from generating or creating the removal toolpath to actual removal of the metal support structures by fluid jetting may be separately automated. Accordingly, a transfer of the metal article with the metal support structures from the fabrication process to the removal process may be manual. According to various embodiments, the fabrication process of the method and system may be semi-automated in that generating or creating the metal article along with the metal support structures may be based on software and programs as well as manual inputs from operator. Thus, the method and system may be fully automated or semi- automated depending on whether the transfer of the metal article with the metal support structures between the fabrication process and the removal process is automated or manual. [00019] The following examples pertain to various embodiments.

[00020] Example 1 is a system for additive manufacturing of a metal article, the system including: a metal additive manufacturing workstation comprising a metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate an intermediate metal workpiece having the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and a removal workstation comprising a fluid jetting tool to remove the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article.

[00021] In Example 2, the subject matter of Example 1 may optionally include that the metal additive manufacturing apparatus may include a powder bed fusion apparatus. [00022] In Example 3, the subject matter of Example 1 or 2 may optionally include a processing unit, wherein the processing unit may be connected to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus to provide instructions for fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece, and wherein the processing unit may be connected to the fluid jetting tool to provide instructions for operating the fluid jetting tool to project a jet of fluid from a fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece for breaking off the at least one metal support structure from the metal article.

[00023] In Example 4, the subject matter of Example 3 may optionally include that the processing unit may be configured to generate a base model for the intermediate metal workpiece by adding a support region to a model of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication, apply a pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region so as to define the at least one metal support structure and to generate a final model of the intermediate metal workpiece comprising the metal article and the at least one metal support structure, and send the instructions to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus to fabricate the intermediate metal workpiece based on the final model, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters may be based on an operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool such that the at least one metal support structure is fabricated in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool.

[00024] In Example 5, the subject matter of Example 4 may optionally include that the pre-determined set of design parameters may include one or a combination of: a pre determined range of cross section dimensions of each metal support structure, a pre determined range of sizes of contact point between each metal support structure and the metal article, a pre-determined range of a number of metal support structures in each support cluster, or a pre-determined range of spacing distances between support clusters.

[00025] In Example 6, the subject matter of Example 4 or 5 may optionally include that the pre-determined set of design parameters may be further based on a fabricability of the at least one metal support structure by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus.

[00026] In Example 7, the subject matter of any one of Examples 4 to 6 may optionally include that the removal workstation may include an enclosure defining a chamber; and a first manipulator disposed inside the enclosure, wherein the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool may be movable by the first manipulator within the chamber.

[00027] In Example 8, the subject matter of Example 7 may optionally include that the processing unit may be connected to the first manipulator to provide instructions for moving the first manipulator so as to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece.

[00028] In Example 9, the subject matter of Example 8 may optionally include that the processing unit may be configured to generate a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and send the instructions to the first manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece based on the nozzle toolpath. [00029] In Example 10, the subject matter of Example 8 or 9 may optionally include that the removal workstation may further include a second manipulator disposed inside the enclosure, the second manipulator may be operable to hold the intermediate metal workpiece.

[00030] In Example 11, the subject matter of Example 10 may optionally include that the processing unit may be connected to the second manipulator to provide instructions for moving the second manipulator so as to move the intermediate metal workpiece held by the second manipulator relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

[00031] In Example 12, the subject matter of Example 11 may optionally include that the processing unit may be configured to generate a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and send the instructions to the second manipulator to move the intermediate metal workpiece relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool based on the workpiece toolpath so as to remove the at least one metal support structure.

[00032] In Example 13, the subject matter of Example 11 or 12 may optionally include that the processing unit may be configured to send the instructions to one or both of the first manipulator and the second manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other for removal of the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece.

[00033] In Example 14, the subject matter of Example 12 in combination with Example 9 may optionally include that the processing unit may be configured to send the instructions to the first manipulator to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool relative to the intermediate metal workpiece based on the nozzle toolpath, and subsequently send the instructions to the second manipulator to move the intermediate metal workpiece relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool based on the workpiece toolpath.

[00034] In Example 15, the subject matter of Example 9, 13 or 14 may optionally include that the removal workstation may further include a sensing arrangement connected to the processing unit, wherein the sensing arrangement may be configured to sense whether removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed after the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece are moved relative to each other.

[00035] In Example 16, the subject matter of Example 15 may optionally include that, when the sensing arrangement senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure is incomplete, the processing unit may be configured to repeat sending instructions to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure.

[00036] In Example 17, the subject matter of Example 16 may optionally include that, when the sensing arrangement senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed, the processing unit may be configured to send instructions to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article.

[00037] Example 18 is an additive manufacturing method for a metal article, including: fabricating, via a metal additive manufacturing apparatus, an intermediate metal workpiece, wherein the intermediate metal workpiece comprises the metal article and at least one metal support structure attached to a portion of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; and removing, via a fluid jetting tool, the at least one metal support structure from the intermediate metal workpiece to obtain the metal article.

[00038] In Example 19, the subject matter of Example 18 may optionally include that fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece may include fabricating the at least one metal support structure based on a pre-determined set of design parameters, wherein the pre-determined set of design parameters may be based on an operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool such that the at least one metal support structure is fabricated in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool.

[00039] In Example 20, the subject matter of Example 19 may optionally include that the pre-determined set of design parameters may include one or a combination of: a pre determined range of cross section dimensions of each metal support structure, a pre determined range of sizes of contact point between each metal support structure and the metal article, a pre-determined range of a number of metal support structures in each support cluster, or a pre-determined range of spacing distances between support clusters. [00040] In Example 21, the subject matter of Example 19 or 20 may optionally include that fabricating the at least one metal support structure based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may include generating a base model for the intermediate metal workpiece by adding a support region to a model of the metal article for supporting the portion of the metal article during fabrication; applying the pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region so as to define the at least one metal support structure and to generate a final model of the intermediate metal workpiece comprising the metal article and the at least one metal support structure; and fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece based on the final model.

[00041] In Example 22, the subject matter of any one of Examples 19 to 21 may optionally include that the pre-determined set of design parameters may be further based on a fabricability of the at least one metal support structure by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus.

[00042] In Example 23 , the subject matter of any one of Examples 18 to 22 may optionally include that removing the at least one metal support structure may include moving a fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other in a manner such that a jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on the at least one metal support structure of the intermediate metal workpiece for breaking off the at least one metal support structure from the metal article.

[00043] In Example 24, the subject matter of Example 23 may optionally include that removing the at least one metal support structure may include aligning the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece prior to moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other. [00044] In Example 25, the subject matter of Example 23 or 25 may optionally include that moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other may include moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via a first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece.

[00045] In Example 26, the subject matter of Example 25 in combination with Example 21 may optionally include that moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece may include generating a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece for removing the at least one metal support structure.

[00046] In Example 27, the subject matter of Example 23 or 24 may optionally include that moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other may include moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via a second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

[00047] In Example 28, the subject matter of Example 27 in combination with Example 21 may optionally include that moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool may include generating a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool for removing the at least one metal support structure.

[00048] In Example 29, the subject matter of Example 23 or 25 may optionally include that moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other may include moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via a first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece and subsequently moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via a second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

[00049] In Example 30, the subject matter of Example 29 in combination with Example 21 may optionally include that moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece may include generating a nozzle toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece, and moving the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool, via the first manipulator, along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece so as to remove the at least one metal support structure, and wherein subsequently moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool may include generating a workpiece toolpath based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece with the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool being stationary, and moving the intermediate metal workpiece, via the second manipulator, along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool.

[00050] In Example 31 , the subject matter of any one of Examples 23 to 30 may optionally include that removing the at least one metal support structure may further include determining whether removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed after moving of the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other.

[00051] In Example 32, the subject matter of Example 31 may optionally include that removing the at least one metal support structure may further include repeating moving of the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the intermediate metal workpiece relative to each other when the removal of the at least one metal support structure is determined to be incomplete.

[00052] In Example 33, the subject matter of Example 31 or 32 may optionally include that determining whether the removal of the at least one metal support structure is completed may be via a sensing arrangement.

[00053] In Example 34, the subject matter of any one of Examples 18 to 33 may optionally include finishing, via the fluid jetting tool, all surfaces of the metal article after the at least one metal support structure is removed.

[00054] FIG. 2 shows a schematic diagram of a system 200 for additive manufacturing of a metal article 210 according to various embodiments. According to various embodiments, the system 200 may include a metal additive manufacturing workstation 220. The metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 may be configured to fabricate or print or build the metal article 210 along with at least one metal support structure 212 via a metal additive manufacturing process. According to various embodiments, the metal used in the additive manufacturing process may include, but not limited to, titanium, steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, gold, platinum, palladium, silver, cobalt chrome alloy, titanium alloy, aluminum alloy, or nickel-based alloy (such as Inconel). According to various embodiments, the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 may be configured to automate the metal additive manufacturing process for fabricating or printing or building the metal article 210 along with the at least one metal support structure 212.

[00055] According to various embodiments, the system 200 may include a removal workstation 230. The removal workstation 230 may be configured to remove the at least one metal support structure 212 from the metal article 210 so as to output the metal article 210 as a finished product. According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may be configured to remove the at least one metal support structure 212 by fluid jetting. According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may be configured to automate the process of removing the at least one metal support structure 212 via fluid jetting.

[00056] According to various embodiments, the system 200 may be semi-automated whereby the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 and the removal workstation 230 are individually automated and a transfer of the metal article 210 with the at least one metal support structure 212 between the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 and the removal workstation 230 is manual. According to various embodiments, the system 200 may be fully automated whereby the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 and the removal workstation 230 are individually automated and the transfer of the metal article 210 with the at least one metal support structure 212 between the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 and the removal workstation 230 is automated via a transfer mechanism or a transportation mechanism or a conveying mechanism.

[00057] According to various embodiments, the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 may include a metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222. According to various embodiments, the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 may fabricate or print or build an intermediate metal workpiece 214 having the metal article 210 and at least one metal support structure 212 attached to a portion of the metal article 210 for providing support to the portion of the metal article 210 during fabrication or printing or building. According to various embodiments, the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 may include, but not limited to, a powder bed fusion (PBF) apparatus or a directed energy deposition apparatus. In FIG. 2, the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 is illustrated in the form of the PBF apparatus. However, it is understood that the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 may be in the form of other suitable types of metal additive manufacturing apparatus, e.g. the directed energy deposition apparatus, as long as the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 is capable of fabricating or printing or building the intermediate metal workpiece 214 having the metal article 210 and the at least one metal support structure 212.

[00058] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include a fluid jetting tool 232. According to various embodiments, the fluid jetting tool 232 may remove the at least one metal support structure 212 from the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to obtain the metal article 210. Accordingly, the metal article 210 may be isolated or separated or severed from the at least one metal support structure 212 via fluid jetting using the fluid jetting tool 232 so as to output the metal article 210 from the removal workstation 230 as the finished product. According to various embodiments, the fluid jetting tool 232 may include a water jetting tool or a liquid jetting tool or an air jetting tool. According to various embodiments, the fluid jetting tool 232 may project pure fluid only. According to various embodiments, the fluid jetting tool 232 may be a high-pressure jetting tool.

[00059] According to various embodiments, the system 200 may include a processing unit 240. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 for controlling the operation of the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 to fabricate the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 of the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 to provide instructions for fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to generate the instructions to be sent to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 for fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214.

[00060] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the removal workstation 230 for controlling the operation of the removal workstation 230 to remove the at least one metal support structure 212 from the intermediate metal workpiece 214 with the fluid jetting tool 232. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the fluid jetting tool 232 to provide instructions for operating the fluid jetting tool 232 to project a jet of fluid from a fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for breaking off the at least one metal support structure 212 from the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to generate instructions for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other, as well as instructions for activating the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to project the jet of fluid. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to control relative movement between the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212, and control the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to project the jet of fluid when aligned.

[00061] In various embodiments, the "processing unit" may be understood as any kind of a logic implementing entity, which may be special purpose circuitry or a processor executing software stored in a memory, firmware, or any combination thereof. Thus, in an embodiment, the "processing unit" may be a hard- wired logic circuit or a programmable logic circuit such as a programmable processor, e.g. a microprocessor (e.g. a Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) processor or a Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) processor). The "processing unit" may also be a processor executing software, e.g. any kind of computer program, e.g. a computer program using a virtual machine code such as e.g. Java. Any other kind of implementation of the respective functions which will be described in more detail below may also be understood as the "processing unit" in accordance with various embodiments. In various embodiments, the “processing unit” may be part of a computing system or a controller or a microcontroller or any other system providing a processing capability. According to various embodiments, such systems may include a memory which is for example used in the processing carried out by the device or system. A memory used in the embodiments may be a volatile memory, for example a DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) or a non-volatile memory, for example a PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory), an EPROM (Erasable PROM), EEPROM (Electrically Erasable PROM), or a flash memory, e.g., a floating gate memory, a charge trapping memory, an MRAM (Magneto-resistive Random Access Memory) or a PCRAM (Phase Change Random Access Memory).

[00062] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include an enclosure 250 defining a chamber 252. The chamber 252 may be a working space for application of fluid jetting by the fluid jetting tool 232 to remove the at least one metal support structure 212 from the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Accordingly, the fluid jetting tool 232 may be disposed inside the chamber 252 so as to be enclosed by the enclosure 250. Hence, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be introduced into the chamber 252 such that the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be moved relative to each other within the chamber 252 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 for directing the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 so as to cause the at least one metal support structure 212 for breaking off from the metal article 210. For example, according to various embodiments, the enclosure 250 may be of a cuboid shape having a dimension of 3m by 3m by 3m. Further, the enclosure 250 may be configured to have good visibility. For example the enclosure 250 may be made of transparent material.

[00063] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include a first manipulator 260. The first manipulator 260 may be disposed inside the enclosure 250. According to various embodiments, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be movable by the first manipulator 260 within the chamber 252. Accordingly, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be held or gripped or clamped by an end effector 262 of the first manipulator 260, or be attached or coupled or secured or fixed to the end effector 262 of the first manipulator 260. Hence, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be moved within the chamber 252 as the end effector 262 of the first manipulator 260 is moved relative to a base 264 of the first manipulator 260. According to various embodiments, when the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is held stationary in the chamber 252, the first manipulator 260 may move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the stationary intermediate metal workpiece 214 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the first manipulator 260 may include a 6-axis robot arm. For example, according to various embodiments, the first manipulator 260 may have a 1.2m and may carry a payload of up to 300kg. According to various embodiments, cabling and hydraulic mechanism of the first manipulator 260 may be configured for wet operations. Further, local controllers of the first manipulator 260 may be located outside the enclosure 250. According to various embodiments (not shown), the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be held stationary by a fixed stand or a stationary stand, or may be placed on a table and/or a turntable in a stationary manner. [00064] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include a second manipulator 270. The second manipulator 270 may be disposed inside the enclosure 250. According to various embodiments, the second manipulator 270 may be operable to hold the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, when the system 200 is semi-automated, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be manually brought from the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 to the removal workstation 230 so as to be held or gripped or clamped by an end effector 272 of the second manipulator 270, or be attached or coupled to the end effector 272 of the second manipulator 270. According to various embodiments, when the system is fully-automated, the second manipulator 270 may directly pick up the intermediate metal workpiece 214 from the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 or pick up the intermediate metal workpiece 214 from a transfer mechanism or a transportation mechanism or a conveying mechanism between the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 and the removal workstation 230. [00065] According to various embodiments, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be movable by the second manipulator 270 within the chamber 252. Accordingly, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be moved within the chamber 252 as the end effector 272 of the second manipulator 270 is moved relative to a base 274 of the second manipulator 270. According to various embodiments, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be held stationary by the second manipulator 270 while the first manipulator 260 may move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the stationary intermediate metal workpiece 214 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be held stationary by the first manipulator 260 while the second manipulator 270 may move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the stationary fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be simultaneously moved by the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 respectively to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the second manipulator 270 may include a 6-axis robot arm. For example, according to various embodiments, the second manipulator 270 may have a 1.2m and may carry a payload of up to 300kg. According to various embodiments, cabling and hydraulic mechanism of the second manipulator 270 may be configured for wet operations. Further, local controllers of the second manipulator 270 may be located outside the enclosure 250.

[00066] According to various embodiments, with the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 aligned by relatively moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the stationary intermediate metal workpiece 214 with one or both of the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270, the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may directed at the least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 so as to break off the at least one metal support structure 212 from the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, the combination of the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 may position the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 with respect to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 in a wide range of angles and a wide range of orientation for effective reach to remove the metal support structure 212.

[00067] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include a fluid drainage arrangement 280 to manage the fluid flow in the chamber 252. The fluid drainage arrangement 280 may be at a base 254 of the enclosure 250. Accordingly, the fluid drainage arrangement 280 may be capable of managing the fluid flow during the removal process of the metal support structure 212, whereby jet of fluid is directed at the metal support structure 212, so as to prevent accumulation of fluid in the chamber 252. According to various embodiments, the fluid drainage arrangement 280 may include a passive drain hole or an active drain pump.

[00068] According to various embodiments, the removal workstation 230 may include a sensing arrangement 290. The sensing arrangement 290 may be configured to detect or sense whether removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is completed after the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 are moved relative to each other. According to various embodiments, the sensing arrangement 290 may include a camera, a proximity sensor, a light sensor, an infrared sensor, or an ultrasonic sensor for detecting or sensing presence of the at least one metal support structure 212. According to various embodiments, the sensing arrangement 290 may be attached or coupled or secured or fixed to the first manipulator 260. For example, according to various embodiments, the sensing arrangement 290 may be attached or coupled or secured or fixed to the end effector 262 of the first manipulator 260. According to various embodiments, the sensing arrangement 290 may be connected to the processing unit 240 so as to send a detection signal to the processing unit 240.

[00069] According to various embodiments, when the sensing arrangement 290 senses or detects that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is incomplete, the removal workstation 230 may repeat moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure 212. Accordingly, the sensing arrangement 290 may provide feedback for the removal workstation 230 to repeat the removal process when the at least one metal support structure 212 is not removed during an earlier iteration of the removal process. Hence, the sensing arrangement 290 may serve as quality control to repeat the removal process as and when required.

[00070] According to various embodiments, when the sensing arrangement 290 senses or detects that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is complete, the removal workstation 230 may be operated to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the metal article 210 relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on surfaces of the metal article 210 to finish the surfaces of the metal article 210.

[00071] According to various embodiments, when the system 200 is semi-automated, checking of whether the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is completed may be performed manually via visual inspection. Accordingly, a determination whether to repeat the removal process with the removal workstation 230 or to proceed with surface finishing of the metal article 210 may be by visually inspection in a semi-automated process. [00072] According to various embodiments, generation or creation of the at least one metal support structure 212 removable by the fluid jetting tool 232 for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be fully automated by the processing unit 240 or may be semi- automated using the processing unit 240 with the operator’s inputs. The at least one metal support structures 212 generated or created by or using the processing unit 240 may be sent to the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 in the instructions for fabrication or printing or building the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, generation or creation of a toolpath for each of the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 may be fully automated by the processing unit 240 or may be semi- automated using the processing unit 240 with the operator’s inputs. Accordingly, the toolpath generated or created by or using the processing unit 240 may be sent to the removal workstation 230 in the instructions for relatively moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removal of the metal support structure 212. According to various embodiments, the toolpath generated or created by or using the processing unit 240 may be optimized for removal of the metal support structure 212 from the intermediate metal workpiece 214.

[00073] According to various embodiments, in order for the processing unit 240 to provide instructions to the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 for fabrication or printing or building the intermediate metal workpiece 214, the processing unit 240 may require a final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to be fabricated or printed or built. The final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be in the form of a computer aided design (CAD). According to various embodiments, to generate the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214, a base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be generated first by adding a support region to a model of the metal article 210 for supporting the portion of the metal article 210 during fabrication. Since the metal article 210 is desired to be output by the system 200, the model of the metal article 210 may be a visualization of the desired output and may serve as a starting basis. For metal additive manufacturing of the metal article 210, support region for providing support to the metal article 210 during fabrication has to be identified. This is to avoid failure during the metal additive manufacturing process. Upon identifying the support region, the support region may be added to the model of the metal article 210 to generate the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. A pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region may then be applied so as to define the at least one metal support structure 212 and to generate the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. The final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include the metal article 210 and the at least one metal support structure 212. According to various embodiments, generation or creation of the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be fully automated by the processing unit 240 or may be semi-automated using the processing unit 240 with the operator’s inputs.

[00074] According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters may be based on an operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool 232 such that the at least one metal support structure 212 may be fabricated or printed or built in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool 232. Accordingly, the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created by or using the processing unit 240 may be specifically configured so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool 232. Hence, the processing unit 240 may generate or create the at least one metal support structure 212 based on the operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool 232 such that the at least one metal support structure 212 may be configured to be removable from the intermediate metal workpiece 214 by the fluid jetting tool 232. Thus, the at least one metal support structure 212 may be created or generated by or using the processing unit 240 with the subsequent removal process using the fluid jetting tool 232 at a pre-determined operating pressure taken into consideration. Therefore, a boundary of the pre-determined set of design parameters may be limited by whether the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created based on the pre determined set of design parameters may be broken off by the fluid jetting tool 232 operating at the pre-determined operating pressure.

[00075] According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters may be further based on a fabricability of the at least one metal support structure 212 by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222. Accordingly, the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created by or using the processing unit 240 may be successfully fabricated or printed or built together with the metal article 210 to form the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Hence, the processing unit 240 may generate or create the at least one metal support structure 212 based on a capability of the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 (such as resolution, accuracy, quality, etc.) such that failure rate of fabricating or printing or building the at least one metal support structure 212 along with the metal article 210 may be low. Thus, the at least one metal support structure 212 may be created or generated by the processing unit 240 with the fabricability or printability or buildability using the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 taken into consideration. Therefore, a boundary of the pre-determined set of design parameters may be limited by whether the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may be fabricated or printed or built together with the metal article 210 to form the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Further, the boundary of the pre determined set of design parameters may be limited by whether the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may provide adequate support for the metal article 210 during fabrication, printing or building.

[00076] According to various embodiments, with the at least one metal support structure 212 generated or created by or using the processing unit 240, the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be completed and the processing unit 240 may generate instructions based on the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 and send the instructions to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 to fabricate the intermediate metal workpiece 214 based on the final model.

[00077] According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters applied by or to the processing unit 240 to generate or create the at least one metal support structure 212 may be customizable. According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters may include one or a combination of: a pre-determined range of cross section dimensions of each metal support structure 212, a pre-determined range of sizes of contact point between each metal support structure 212 and the metal article 210, a pre-determined range of a number of metal support structures 212 in each support cluster, or a pre-determined range of spacing distances between support clusters.

[00078] For example, according to various embodiments, when the fluid jetting tool 232 includes a water jet having a power of 500Kw, a maximum operating pressure of 40,000 psi, and a maximum water flow of 530 litres per minute, and when the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 is a PBF apparatus, the pre-determined set of design parameters may include the following as shown in table 1.

[00079] Table 1

[00080] According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters may be customized such that the at least one metal support structure 212 created or generated by or using the processing unit 240 may be of sufficient build quality to support the metal article 210 during fabrication or printing or building by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 without failure and may be removable by the fluid jetting tool 232 subsequently. According to various embodiments, the pre-determined set of design parameters may also take into account other factors of the build or fabrication or printing process that will impact the values of the pre-determined set of design parameters. One example of such factor may include angle of build. According to various embodiments, for larger angle of build, a smaller cross section of the at least one metal support structure 212 may be required.

[00081] According to various embodiments, with the intermediate metal workpiece 214 fabricated or printed or built by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 of the metal additive manufacturing workstation 220 based on the instructions from the processing unit 240, removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 by the fluid jetting tool 232 of the removal workstation 230 may also be based on the instructions from the processing unit 240.

[00082] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the first manipulator 260 to provide instructions for moving the first manipulator 260 so as to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Accordingly, the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be stationary and only the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be moved.

[00083] According to various embodiments, a nozzle toolpath may be generated based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, generation of the nozzle toolpath may be fully automated by the processing unit 240 or may be semi-automated using the processing unit 240 with the operator’s inputs. Accordingly, the nozzle toolpath generated by or using the processing unit 240 may provide a route to guide or move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 into alignment with the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as a means for actual alignment of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Further, the nozzle toolpath generated by or using the processing unit 240 may also provide a track pattern covering the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to guide or move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 for actual movement of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to sweep through the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 so as to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 pass different portions of the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for impingement by the jet of fluid. According to various embodiments, the track pattern covering the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include, but not limited to, a spiral pattern, a parallel zig-zag pattern, or an overlapping sector pattern. According to various embodiments, with the nozzle toolpath generated or created, the processing unit 240 may send the instructions to the first manipulator 260 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 based on the nozzle toolpath during the removal process.

[00084] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be connected to the second manipulator 270 to provide instructions for moving the second manipulator 270 so as to move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Accordingly, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be stationary and only the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be moved.

[00085] According to various embodiments, a workpiece toolpath may be generated based on the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, generation of the workpiece toolpath may be fully automated by the processing unit 240 or may be semi-automated using the processing unit 240 with the operator’s inputs. Accordingly, the workpiece toolpath generated by or using the processing unit 240 may provide a route to guide or move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 such that the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be aligned with the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as a means for actual alignment of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Further, the workpiece toolpath generated by or using the processing unit 240 may also provide a track pattern to guide or move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 such that the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may cover or sweep through the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is moved relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 so as to pass the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 across different portions of the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for impingement by the jet of fluid. According to various embodiments, the track pattern for moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include, but not limited to, a spiral pattern, a parallel zig-zag pattern, or an overlapping sector pattern. According to various embodiments, with the workpiece toolpath generated or created, the processing unit 240 may send the instructions to the second manipulator 270 to move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative based on the workpiece toolpath during the removal process.

[00086] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to send instructions to one or both of the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. For example, the processing unit 240 may be configured to send instructions to the first manipulator 260 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214, or send instructions to the second manipulator 270 to move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232, or to send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 to simultaneous move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 and the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232. [00087] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to send the instructions to the first manipulator 260 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 based on the nozzle toolpath, and subsequently send the instructions to the second manipulator 270 to move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 based on the workpiece toolpath. Accordingly, the processing unit 240 may sequentially send the instructions to the first manipulator 260 followed by sending the instructions to the second manipulator 270, or send the instructions to the first manipulator 260 and the second manipulator 270 in a successive manner. Hence, the first manipulator 260 may move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 initially followed by the second manipulator 270 moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232.

[00088] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may be configured to receive the detection signal from the sensing arrangement 290. According to various embodiments, based on the detection signal received from the sensing arrangement 290, the processing unit 240 may be configured to repeat sending instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure 212, or to send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article. For example, when the detection signal received from the sensing arrangement 290 indicates that the sensing arrangement 290 senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 214 is incomplete, the processing unit 240 may repeat sending instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure 212. On the other hand, when the detection signal received from the sensing arrangement 290 indicates that the sensing arrangement 290 senses that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 214 is completed, the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article.

[00089] According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may also be configured to repeat sending instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270, based on the operator’s input, to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure 212, or to send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article. For example, when the operator observe that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 214 is incomplete, the operator may provide an input to the processing unit 240 such that the processing unit 240 may repeat sending instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removing the at least one metal support structure 212. On the other hand, when the operator observe that the removal of the at least one metal support structure 214 is completed, the operator may provide an input to the processing unit 240 such that the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 to move the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool and the metal article relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle of the fluid jetting tool impinges on surfaces of the metal article to finish the surfaces of the metal article

[00090] FIG. 3 shows a schematic flow diagram of an additive manufacturing method 301 for the metal article 210 according to various embodiments. According to various embodiments, the additive manufacturing method 301 may, at 303, include fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, fabricating of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be via the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222. The intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include the metal article 210 and at least one metal support structure 212 attached to a portion of the metal article 210 for supporting the portion of the metal article 210 during fabrication or printing or building. According to various embodiments, the additive manufacturing method 301 may, at 305, include removing the at least one metal support structure 212 from the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to obtain the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, removing of the at least one metal support structure 212 may be via the fluid jetting tool 232.

[00091] According to various embodiments, in the method 301, fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include fabricating the at least one metal support structure 212 based on the pre-determined set of design parameters. The pre-determined set of design parameters may be based on the operating pressure of the fluid jetting tool 232 such that the at least one metal support structure 212 may be fabricated in a manner so as to be removable by the fluid jetting tool 232. The pre-determined set of design parameters may also be based on the fabricability of the at least one metal support structure 212 by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222. Accordingly, the at least one metal support structure 212 may be generated or created based on the pre-determined set of design parameters and be fabricated or printed or built accordingly. According to various embodiments, generation of the at least one metal support structure 212 based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may be done by or using the processing unit 240. Subsequently, the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 for actual fabrication of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 with the at least one metal support structure 212.

[00092] According to various embodiments, in the method 301, fabricating the at least one metal support structure 212 based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may include: at 311, generating the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 by adding the support region to the model of the metal article 210 for supporting the portion of the metal article 210 during fabrication; at 313, applying the pre-determined set of design parameters to the support region so as to define the at least one metal support structure 212; at 315, generating the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 including the metal article 210 and the at least one metal support structure 212 for fabrication; and at 317, fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214 based on the final model. According to various embodiments, generation of the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 (at 311), application of the pre-determined set of design parameters (at 313) and generating the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 (at 315) may be done by or using the processing unit 240. Subsequently, the processing unit 240 may sent the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as instructions to the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 for actual fabrication of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. [00093] According to various embodiments, in the method 301, removing the at least one metal support structure 212 may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for breaking off the at least one metal support structure 212 from the metal article 210. Accordingly, the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be moved relative to each other such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may be directed towards the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removal of the at least one metal support structure 212.

[00094] According to various embodiments, in the method 301, removing the at least one metal support structure 212 may include, at 321, generating a toolpath based on the support region of the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214, and, at 323, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other based on the toolpath in a manner such that the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for breaking off the at least one metal support structure 212 from the metal article 210. Accordingly, the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 previously generated or created during fabrication may be used for generating or creating the toolpath for relative movement between the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, generating of the toolpath may be done by or using the processing unit 240. Subsequently, the processing unit 240 may send the toolpath as instructions to the removal workstation 230 for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other. For example, the processing unit 240 may send the toolpath as instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 of the removal workstation 230 for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other. [00095] FIG. 4 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for fabricating the intermediate metal workpiece 214, at 303, according to the method 301 of the various embodiments. According to various embodiments, a complete computer aided design model (CAD) of the metal article 210 may be provided as input or may be generated at the start of the method 301. With the model of the metal article 210, a first pass solution for the support structures may be generated. In generating the first pass solution for the support structures, the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be generated by adding the support region to the model of the metal article 210 for supporting the portion of the metal article 210 during fabrication (as per 311). According to various embodiments, the above steps may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[00096] According to various embodiments, after the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is generated, the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be generated. According to various embodiments, priority areas for support may be identified from the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. As an example, the priority areas for support may be the inner surfaces of the metal article 210. Accordingly, priority areas for support may be identified from the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, appropriate pre determined set of design parameters may also be identified as rules. Accordingly, the pre determined set of design parameters may be identified based on the fluid jetting tool 232 to be used for removal of the at least one support structures 212 and/or the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 22 to be used for fabricating or printing or building the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Further, the pre-determined set of design parameters may be set as rules for generating or creating the at least one support structures 212. According to various embodiments, the rules based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may be applied to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 or the first pass solution (as per 313). Further, orientation and alignment rules may also be applied to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 (or the first pass solution). By applying the above rules to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 or the first pass solution, the at least one support structures 212 may be generated or created. Accordingly, the at least one support structures 212 may be generated or created at the priority areas of the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 previously identified. According to various embodiments, the above steps may be performed by or using the processing unit 240. [00097] Subsequently, secondary and/or subsequent priority areas for support may be identified from the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. As an example, the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas for support may be the outer surfaces of the metal article 210. Accordingly, secondary and/or subsequent priority areas for support may be identified from the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the rules based on the pre-determined set of design parameters may be applied again to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 or the first pass solution (as per 313). Further, orientation and alignment rules may also be applied again to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 (or the first pass solution). By applying the above rules again to the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 or the first pass solution, further support structures may be generated or created. Accordingly, the further support structures may be generated or created at the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas of the support region of the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 previously identified. According to various embodiments, the above steps may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[00098] According to various embodiments, after the at least one support structures 212 is generated or created for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 based on the various rules, the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is produced. The final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be transferred to the file system of the additive manufacturing apparatus 222 for the additive manufacturing apparatus 222 to fabricate or print or build the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Accordingly, the final model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be provided to the additive manufacturing apparatus 222 as instructions for the additive manufacturing apparatus 222 to fabricate or print or build the intermediate metal workpiece 214. According to various embodiments, the above steps may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[00099] FIG. 5 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for generating one or more toolpaths, at 321, according to the method 301 of the various embodiments. According to various embodiments, the priority areas for support may be identified. Accordingly, the priority areas based on the support region of the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be identified. The one or more toolpaths may be generated to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 into close proximity to the priority areas so as to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may be generated for moving the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 so as to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 at the priority areas of the support region. The one or more toolpaths may be further generated with the intermediate metal workpiece 214 held stationary first. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may move the first manipulator 260 relative to the second manipulator 270 that is stationary such that the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may move relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 held stationary by the second manipulator 280. Subsequently, the one or more toolpaths may be generated with moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as required. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may move the second manipulator 270 relative to the first manipulator that is stationary such that the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may move relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 held stationary by the first manipulator 260. According to various embodiments, the generation of the one or more toolpaths may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[000100] According to various embodiments, after the one or more toolpaths is generated for removal at the priority areas, the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas for support may be identified. Accordingly, the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas based on the support region of the base model for the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be identified. The one or more toolpaths may be generated to move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 into close proximity to the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas so as to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may be generated for moving the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 so as to align the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the at least one metal support structure 212 of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 at the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas of the support region. The one or more toolpaths may be further generated with the intermediate metal workpiece 214 held stationary first. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may move the first manipulator 260 relative to the second manipulator 270 that is stationary such that the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 may move relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 held stationary by the second manipulator 280. Subsequently, the one or more toolpaths may be generated with moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 as required. Accordingly, the one or more toolpaths may move the second manipulator 270 relative to the first manipulator that is stationary such that the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may move relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 held stationary by the first manipulator 260. According to various embodiments, the generation of the one or more toolpaths may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[000101] According to various embodiments, after the one or more toolpaths are generated for removal at both the priority areas and the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas, the one or more toolpaths for surface finishing of the metal article 210 may be generated. According to various embodiments, the one or more toolpaths for surface finishing of the metal article 210 may be generated to cover all surfaces of the metal article 210 so as to finish all surfaces of the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, the generation of the one or more toolpaths may be performed by or using the processing unit 240.

[000102] According to various embodiments, the one or more toolpaths generated may include multiple toolpaths, each toolpath for an action. For example, there may be a nozzle toolpath for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removal at the priority areas, a workpiece toolpath for moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 for removal at the priority areas, a nozzle toolpath for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removal at the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas, a workpiece toolpath for moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 for removal at the secondary and/or subsequent priority areas, and a finishing toolpath for surface finishing the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, these toolpaths may be stored and saved. According to various embodiments, these toolpaths may be generated before or after the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is fabricated or printed or built. According to various embodiments, these toolpaths may be generated using the base model of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 initially generated during the fabrication process of the intermediate metal workpiece 214.

[000103] FIG. 6 shows a detailed flow diagram of an example of the steps for moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other based on the toolpath to remove the at least one metal support structure 212, at 323, according to the method 301 of the various embodiments. According to various embodiments, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other based on the toolpath may include preparing the intermediate metal workpiece 214, preparing the fluid jetting tool 232 and the enclosure 250, performing removal and performing finishing. According to various embodiments, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and/or the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be via the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 respectively. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 based on the toolpath required.

[000104] According to various embodiments, preparing the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may include removing the intermediate metal workpiece 214 from the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 and any heat treatment apparatus, removing the intermediate metal workpiece 214 from a substrate on which the intermediate metal workpiece 214 is fabricated or printed or built, aligning a datum of the intermediate metal workpiece 214 to a datum of the fluid jetting tool 232, and clamping the intermediate metal workpiece 214 at appropriate angle to the second manipulator 270. According to various embodiments, in the method 301, removing the at least one metal support structure 212 at 305 may include aligning the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 prior to moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other. According to various embodiments, the above may be done manually or may be automated.

[000105] According to various embodiments, preparing the fluid jetting tool 232 and the enclosure 250 may include conducting calibration check of the first manipulator 260, the second manipulator 270 and the fluid jetting tool 232, conducting pre -jetting safety and set up checks, and sealing the enclosure 250 so as to seal the chamber 252. According to various embodiments, the above may be done manually or may be automated.

[000106] According to various embodiments, performing removal may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other based on the appropriate toolpath and projecting the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to impinge on the at least one metal support structure 212 for removal so as to commence removal with fluid jetting, conducting quality checks upon completion, and re-doing (or repeating) removal with fluid jetting as required. According to various embodiments, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and/or the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be via the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 respectively. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 based on the toolpath required. According to various embodiments, conducting quality checks may be done manually or may be automated via the sensing arrangements 290.

[000107] According to various embodiments, in method 301, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for performing removal may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232, via the first manipulator 260, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214. Accordingly, the first manipulator 260 may move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removing the at least one metal support structure 212.

[000108] According to various embodiments, in method 301, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for performing removal may include moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214, via the second manipulator 260, relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232. Accordingly, the second manipulator 260 may move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 for removing the at least one metal support structure 212.

[000109] According to various embodiments, in method 301, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for performing removal may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232, via the first manipulator 260, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214, and subsequently moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214, via the second manipulator 260, relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232. Accordingly, the first manipulator 260 may first move the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 along the nozzle toolpath relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 for removing the at least one metal support structure 212, and the second manipulator 260 may subsequently move the intermediate metal workpiece 214 along the workpiece toolpath relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 for removing the at least one metal support structure 212.

[000110] According to various embodiments, in method 301, removing the at least one metal support structure 212 (as per 305) may include determining whether removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is completed after moving of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other. According to various embodiments, determination of whether the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is completed may be via the sensing arrangement 290 or may be manual.

[000111] According to various embodiments, when the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is determined to be incomplete, moving of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 may be repeated.

[000112] According to various embodiments, when the removal of the at least one metal support structure 212 is determined to be completed, the method 301 may proceed with performing finishing of the metal article 210. According to various embodiments, performing finishing may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the metal article 210 relative to each other based on the finishing toolpath and projecting the jet of fluid from the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 to impinge on the surfaces of the metal article 210 for surface finishing so as to commence surface finishing with fluid jetting, conducting quality checks upon completion, re-doing (or repeating) finishing with fluid jetting as required. According to various embodiments, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and/or the intermediate metal workpiece 214 may be via the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 respectively. According to various embodiments, the processing unit 240 may send instructions to the first manipulator 260 and/or the second manipulator 270 based on the toolpath required. According to various embodiments, conducting quality checks may be done manually or may be automated via the sensing arrangements 290.

[000113] According to various embodiments, in method 301, moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for performing finishing may include moving the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232, via the first manipulator 260, relative to the intermediate metal workpiece 214 along the finishing toolpath and/or moving the intermediate metal workpiece 214, via the second manipulator 260, relative to the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 along the finishing toolpath.

[000114] According to various embodiments, in method 301, performing finishing may include determining whether surface finishing of the metal article 210 is completed after moving of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for surface finishing. According to various embodiments, determination of whether the surface finishing of the metal article 210 is completed may be via the sensing arrangement 290 or may be manual.

[000115] According to various embodiments, when the surface finishing of the metal article 210 is determined to be incomplete, moving of the fluid jet nozzle 234 of the fluid jetting tool 232 and the intermediate metal workpiece 214 relative to each other for surface finishing may be repeated.

[000116] According to various embodiments, when the surface finishing of the metal article 210 is determined to be completed, the metal article 210 may be output as the finished product of the method 301. Accordingly, the finished product of the method 301 may be removed from the enclosure 250.

[000117] FIG. 7 shows a model of a metal article 710 produced by the system 200 and the method 301 according to various embodiments. As shown, the metal article 710 is a hollow impeller whereby the support structures are located within the interior surfaces 711 of the hollow impeller.

[000118] Table 2 below shows the results for additive manufacturing of the metal article 710 using different sets of design parameters.

[000119] Table 2 [000120] As can be seen from the results above, scenario 7-9, and 15 to 18 shows that the system 200 and the method 301 according to various embodiments may successfully produce the metal article 710. In particular, the results also show that when the design parameters are selected carefully such that the design parameters result in the at least one support structure 210 being fabricable or printable or buildable by the metal additive manufacturing apparatus 222 and/or the at least one support structure 210 is removable by the fluid jetting tool 232, the success rate of the producing the metal article 710 by the system 200 and the method 301 according to various embodiments may be corresponding increased. [000121] Various embodiments have provided an effective and versatile solution for metal additive manufacturing in the form of a holistic or comprehensive method and system for producing the metal article from raw materials to a finished product via metal additive manufacturing whereby the issues related to challenges as well as high costs related to removal of metal support structures may be minimized and/or eliminated. Further, various embodiments have provided a new way of creating or generating metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing and/or a new way of removing metal support structures for metal additive manufacturing so as to achieve high through-put and low cost for industrial production of metal articles via metal additive manufacturing.

[000122] While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to specific embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes, modification, variation in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. The scope of the invention is thus indicated by the appended claims and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced.