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Computer Aided Material Selection (CAMS) for Additive Manufacturing Materials

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Additive Manufacturing (AM) describes the use of Layer Manufacturing Technologies (LMT) to directly produce end use parts. More commonly, LMT have been used as a method to accurately and quickly produce prototype models sometimes referred to as Rapid Prototyping (RP) or 3D printing. Presently, however, LMT are utilised to produce polymeric and metallic parts directly from Computer Aided Design (CAD) model data. The ease at which design data can be manufactured directly from digital to physical in one step removing the need for tool design or manufacturing set up leads to a scenario where highly individualised and complex products can be produced that avoid cost and time penalties keeping products that are competitive with mass produced equivalents. The reality of this scenario is that although AM offers a real solution to the problem of producing complex or customised products that are competitive with mass produced equivalents, information regarding available AM material and process capability is fragmented and sometimes difficult to generate. This stands as a suitable barrier to adopting an AM strategy. This paper presents a knowledge system contained within an existing CAD environment, in this case Solid Works CAD/CAM software, that can be accessed within the existing Graphical User Interface (GUI) and will aid in the selection of appropriate AM materials and process technology using user generated model data.