Laser melting deposition is a 3D printing method usually studied for the manufacturing of machine parts in the industry. However, for the medical sector, although feasible, applications and actual products taking advantage of this technique are only scarcely reported. Therefore, in this study, Ti6Al4V orthopedic implants in the form of plates were 3D printed by laser melting deposition. Tuning of the laser power, scanning speed and powder feed rate was conducted, in order to obtain a continuous deposition after a single laser pass and to diminish unwanted blown powder, stuck in the vicinity of the printed elements. The fabrication of bone plates is presented in detail, putting emphasis on the scanning direction, which had a decisive role in the 3D printing resolution. The printed material was investigated by optical microscopy and was found to be dense, with no visible pores or cracks. The metallographic investigations and X-ray diffraction data exposed an unusual biphasic α+β structure. The energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed a composition very similar to the one of the starting powder material. The mapping of the surface showed a uniform distribution of elements, with no segregations or areas with deficient elemental distribution. The in vitro tests performed on the 3D printed Ti6Al4V samples in osteoblast-like cell cultures up to 7 days showed that the material deposited by laser melting is cytocompatible.
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