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Design for Additive Manufacturing

Cambridge and Loughborough University

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the process of creating an object in 3D.  This is done by the process of adding a material, layer by later until an object is created. If designers are to be able to embrace and exploit the opportunities offered by AM they must approach a design task with a different mind-set than for conventional production methods. This project seeks to develop, from first principles, a set of design rules to guide process selection and design optimisation for cost effective AM.

We aim to do this from the perspective of the designer and hope to both challenge the preconceptions that “anything can be produced” using AM, whilst at the same time convincing sceptical designers that AM can be an economically viable manufacturing option when properly selected and applied. Unlike previous work, which has focused on highly specific, very high value components in sectors such as aerospace and surgical implants, this research will embrace the wider field of industrial, product and engineering design as applied to complex, multi-component domestic, professional, industrial and scientific products.

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Our aim is to add AM into the designer's menu of manufacturing choices and provide sufficient design guidance to enable the appropriate selection, application and design optimisation of AM parts into complex products in a cost effective manner.