Abstract

The high degree of automation of Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) processing and its ability to create geometrically complex parts to precise dimensions provide it with a unique potential for low volume production of rapid tooling and functional components. A factor of significant importance in the above applications is the capability of producing components with adequate mechanical performance (e.g., stiffness and strength). This paper introduces a strategy for the optimizing the design of Fused-Deposition Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (FD-ABS) components for stiffness and strength. In this strategy, a mathematical model of the structural system is linked to an approximate minimization algorithm to find the settings of select manufacturing parameters which optimize the mechanical performance of the component. The methodology is demonstrated by maximizing the load carrying capacity of a two-section cantilevered FD-ABS beam.

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