The definition of design for additive manufacturing varies greatly. Here, we propose a simple tier-based approach to defining DfAM. This will give an indication of the time/effort and knowledge required for specific applications.
By *AM-friendly*, we refer to a component where the conventional design is marginally changed to minimise post-processing and facilitate build success but that is not fully optimised for the AM process. In other words, the design is slightly and practically altered with the sole purpose to build the component safely while retaining the part’s original key function.
By contrast, the *AM-enhanced* design is a design where practical knowledge of the technology is harvested to improve the function of the part in a time-efficient manner; ie without going through the full design-specific process that may use topology optimisation of supports and parts combined with advanced DfAM. Typically in *AM-enhanced*designs, improvement are safe bets, ie that will not compromise the build yield, and they are born out of the rich experience of an applications’ engineer with a specific technology/machine. They do not follow specific performance metrics/requirements but aim to offer some forms of quick improvements with minimal risks of build failures. Usually *free* AM-specific features (thin walls, surface textures…) are added at no extra-costs (prep time/efforts) to enhance the design.
Finally, the *AM-specific* design is – as the name suggests – characteristically optimised to take advantage of a specific AM-process – in this case LB-PBF – as well as to enhance key chosen functions – in this case the heat-transfer function. This is typically reserved for (very)-high-value components that may warrant substantial time-investment of topology function optimisation mixed with advanced DfAM for a larger ROI (weight saving, long term costs, improved function >20%, etc…). An example of this would be the redesign of a complex manifold used in racing sports. This is usually undertaken with a longer-term strategic approach to the manufacturing of future components and/or to learn about the design process of complex components.