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A review of suitable methods for producing automated or semi automated product designs for production using RM technologies

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Rapid Manufacturing (RM) technologies allow the production of a single unit of a design affordably and easily. No tool is required and the design constraints for manufacture are much less than that of traditional manufacture. In the future of product design, it is conceivable that consumers or designers with no manufacturing knowledge would be able to interact with design software to produce individualised designs which would be ready for manufacture using RM technologies. To aid the future consumer in managing the manufacture of his or her own product independently of experienced manufacturing engineers suitable assistive design tools should be developed. This paper presents a review of current trends in design assistance through automated processes and describes how assistive design methods might be included in a tool framework that would support design and rapid manufacture of a consumer product using additive layer technologies.