Abstract

Despite a growing application of additive manufacturing, build volume has limited the size of fabricated parts. Machines that can produce large-scale parts in whole have high costs and less commercially available. A workaround is to partition the desired part into smaller partitions which can be manufactured in parallel, with the added benefit of controlling process parameters for each partition independently and reducing manufacturing time. This paper proposes an approach that divides a part into a cube skeleton covered by shell segments where all components can be fabricated with smaller 3D printers. The proposed algorithm first hollows out the original fully dense part to a user-specified thickness, then partitions the part into 26 surrounding regions using the six faces of the maximally inscribed cube (or cuboid). Islands, i.e., small, disconnected partitions within each region, are combined with the smallest neighbor to create up to 26 connected partitions. To minimize the number of printed partitions, the connected partitions are ranked based on their volume and combined with their smallest neighbor in pairs in descending order, while ensuring each pair fits within a pre-selected build volume of available 3D printers. The final partitioned shell segments, the cube (or cuboid) center, and the secondary layer of cubes propagated from the face centers of the maximally inscribed cube are generated by the algorithm. Results of two cases are shown.

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