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Complexity is not for free

In review, submitted to the 15th Conference on Rapid Design, Prototyping & Manufacturing (RDPM2017), 27-28 April 2017, Newcastle, United Kingdom.

 

One of the most frequently claimed advantages of additive manufacturing (AM) is ‘Complexity for free’. ‘Complexity for free’ is the idea that with AM, complex geometries can be fabricated without any increase in the cost of production. This paper explores the effects of shape complexity on part cost and material consumption in Fused Deposition Modelling and challenge the assumption that AM technologies provide ‘Complexity for free’. Experimental results indicate that shape complexity can lead to both increased build time and material consumption and therefore have a negative impact on part cost.