Design Rules for Additive Manufacturing

Design Rules for Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), often called “3D printing”, refers to manufacturing processes that employ a “layer-by-layer” approach to synthesize a three-dimensional object.  Due to its rapid low-volume production speed, but material restriction and inferior strength characteristics, AM methods have typically been relegated to geometric modeling and rapid prototyping of parts.  However, recent consumer interest in low-cost AM machines, and the development of novel AM methods employing high strength alloys and composites, has motivated research into improving the strength of manufactured parts to for use-cases outside of rapid prototyping.

In this work, strength testing of AM parts are performed to  characterize the relationship between the interior raster geometry, and the anisotropic tensile strength of FFF parts using polylactic acid (PLA) thermoplastic.  These experiments show that the more complex interior raster geometries increased yield stress by up to 5 MPa, indicating that geometric design complexity available in AM can be used to improve part performance.