The advantage of AM over conventional manufacturing methods is its great design freedom in terms of geometry flexibility, hierarchical complexity, material design, and functional complexity [1, 2].
Research shows that these four aspects can combine and compound to form heterogeneous structures by simultaneously considering various cellular structures and densities other than by functional graded materials (FGMs) for instance .
At the moment, studies assessing differences between AM and injection moulding indicate that traditional part complexity measurement (based on cost of manufacturing, cost of assembly, and serviceability) needs to be redefined to account for AM characteristics [4-7].
To take advantage of AM, designers need a good understanding of the manufacturing constraints imposed by the various AM fabrication methods. For this purpose, DFM needs to reflect the typical characteristics of AM:
Layer by layer manufacturing
Layer-by-layer material deposition compounded with direct fabrication from CAD model opens up the realm of component design. Unlike more conventional substractive and formative processes, additive methods can build a wide range of geometries.
Components modularity and hybrid manufacturing
Parts could advantageously be designed as 3D customisable puzzles with optional modules. These modules can be built separately and assembled while taking advantages of alternative technology-specific designs to minimise manufacturing difficulties and enhance functionalities.
This type of hybrid manufacturing method can be divided into two categories:
Using AM technologies, materials can be processed selectively. Complex material compositions can be tailored with functional property gradients or heterogeneous lattice structures differentiated by their density.
Hierarchical complexity: manufacturing across several orders of magnitude in length scale
Researchers report three typical features:
A few AM processes make it possible to remanufacture and repair components at low cost and relative high speed. For instance, the LENS process is used to repair the worn area of a Ti-6Al-4 V bearing housing from a gas turbine engine. Followed up by conventional CNC machining, the repair costs amount to only 50 % of the price of new component and saves the materials required to manufacture a new bearing housing.
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13. Choi J-W, Yamashita M, Sakakibara J, Kaji Y, Oshika T, Wicker RB (2010) Combined micro and macro additive manufacturing of a swirling flow coaxial phacoemulsifier sleeve with internal micro- vanes. Biomed Microdevices 12(5):875–886
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