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Automated variation in product design: Using visual basics.net programming language to generate product variation

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Additive manufacturing (AM) systems are production techniques that build products layer-by-layer from cross-sectional data of solid geometry created and tessellated in a computer aided design package. The pre-requisite requirement for utilisation of AM technology is suitable computer aided design (CAD) geometry, and from this, the production of a part is mostly conducted as a closed process within the AM system. As such, AM is simplifying the steps from design to production and this is leading to changes in the way in which products can be designed in response to this simplification. This paper presents a review of recent developments in consumer-based and advanced design methods including web-based customisation tools and motion capture devices used in design and computer programmes that automate the design variation of base products.
As CAD is an imperative part of AM for the present, this paper presents new products designed using automated methods conceived and developed by the authors within an existing CAD package as part of this research. The products are original designs of the authors’ manufactured using AM systems, examples of which are shown in this paper.