Porosity plays a critical role in determining the mechanical behavior of additively and conventionally manufactured metal components. Defects such as voids decrease the strength and fatigue life of these components, which can limit the application of AM. Powder precursors have a critical effect on the outcome of AM processes. Serial sectioning involves removing material from a sample layer by layer – in a sense, the inverse of additive manufacturing, and is a practical and direct method of obtaining 3D microstructures, especially when automated. This study presents the evaluation of a variety of alloy powders (gas and water atomized) as well as techniques (directed energy, laser and electron beam powder bed fusion) for the evaluation of microstructure and defect distributions in AM processes, as well as and defect distribution.