Laser cladding is a well-established process to apply coatings on metals. However, on substrates considerably thinner than 1 mm it is only rarely described in the literature. In this work 200 µm thin sheets of nickel-based superalloy 718 are coated with a powder of a cobalt-based alloy, Co–28Cr–9W–1.5Si, by laser cladding. The process window is very narrow, therefore, a precisely controlled Yb fiber laser was used. To minimize the input of energy into the substrate, lines were deposited by setting single overlapping points. In a design of experiments (DoE) study, the process parameters of laser power, laser spot area, step size, exposure time, and solidification time were varied and optimized by examining the clad width, weld penetration, and alloying depth. The microstructure of the samples was investigated by optical microscope (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), combined with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Similarly to laser cladding of thicker substrates, the laser power shows the highest influence on the resulting clad. With a higher laser power, the clad width and alloying depth increase, and with a larger laser spot area the weld penetration decreases. If the process parameters are controlled precisely, laser cladding of such thin sheets is manageable.
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