Additive manufacturing technologies are creating a world of possibilities taking organizations in an entirely new direction and helping them rethink new approach towards product design and development.
Designers and manufacturing engineers are extending their capabilities as additive manufacturing offers higher design freedom and open doors to highly complex, geometric shapes and features, which otherwise would require expensive tooling to produce or even impossible to manufacture using conventional manufacturing processes. With a growing number of parts manufactured by additive manufacturing techniques, it is also important to lay down design principles suitable for such manufacturing processes as complex design features pose newer challenges downstream. Design for additive manufacturing requires multiple iterations and the availability of expertise is also limited at present. General design rules should be considered at the design stage for effective manufacturing of parts using additive manufacturing. For example some checks such as -
Maximum part size check – The maximum size of parts is generally constrained by the additive machines available for manufacturing. If the part is of bigger size than the allowable machine capacity, then it has to be redesigned to fit the machine. Hence it is important to know the maximum allowable size while designing the part.
Minimum wall thickness check – The minimum wall thickness of a part is generally constrained by the additive manufacturing method, machine resolution, etc. Very thin walls could make the part very fragile and hence it is important to check and maintain minimum distance between generic pockets (Hole/cutout/pocket) and minimum distance from edge to generic pockets to provide sufficient strength and rigidity to the part.
Eliminate Features requiring support - As additive manufacturing methods build the part layer by layer, some designs might require additional support due to the nature of additive manufacturing. Features such as negative drafts, overhangs and undercuts should be avoided wherever possible, as they require supports which increases the weight of part.
These and many other rules should be considered during additive manufacturing part designs. So does it mean that all the designs have to be validated manually for these design rules? Although the design rules might appear simple, verifying all these rules manually in 3D models is very difficult and time consuming.
DFMPro is keeping pace with next generation manufacturing processes to provide an automated and standardized approach. This will help designers to verify designs for additive manufacturing process and design effectively with minimal iterations and mistakes.
DFMPro is a powerful CAD integrated Design for Manufacturing & Assembly solution, which facilitates upstream manufacturability validation and identification of areas of a design that are difficult, expensive or impossible to manufacture. It supports various processes such as injection molding, casting, sheet metal fabrication, machining, tubing, sand casting and assembly.
The latest version 4.0 of DFMPro provides users much greater flexibility to design products for advanced processes like additive manufacturing, tubing to significantly reduce engineering change orders (ECOs) by getting their designs right the first time.
In my upcoming webinar I will discuss about the additive manufacturing module of DFMPro and discuss the major benefits of using a formal design for manufacturing (DFM) process. You can register for the webinar here