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Using additive manufacturing effectively: a CAD tool to support decision making

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review



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 or 3D printing. Presently, however, LMT is utilised to produce polymeric and metallic parts directly from computer aided design (CAD) model data. While advancements in machine and material technology are reasons for the ability to directly manufacture components using LMT over producing only models and prototypes, the lack of available and reliable data concerning these advancements limits the effective adoption of the technology as a substitute for other manufacturing methods. To decide when AM can be used effectively, data needs to be at the disposal of designers so that they may make decisions about manufacturing of the parts they design. Current trends in CAD software development bring design support tools into the CAD environment, as a method to increase effectiveness into the design process. A support system to guide effective use of LMT would follow this trend and give instant access to information and support decision making for designers in a CAD environment. This research collates, through information gathering and experimentation, process and material data for layer technologies and aims to develop a CAD tool for the support and guidance in decision making about appropriate and effective use of AM.