This study unearths a novel approach utilizing conventional subtractive manufacturing technology (5-axis CNC milling center) to realize additively manufactured complex geometries without employing support structures. The proposed approach was based on benefiting from the precision and accuracy of subtractive manufacturing while leveraging the freedom of design of additive manufacturing (AM) process. The desired objectives were achieved in a three-stepped methodology where initially the CNC machine was modified to adapt the 3D printing protocols while in the second step, additional hardware was retrofitted on the conventional CNC machine making it compatible to print 3D parts. A “geometric subsection” approach was adopted as the third step where the desired printed part was divided in different subsections based on the overhang angles and the rotational axes of the CNC machine was then utilized in a manner to eliminate the need for support structures. The manufactured AM part can then be post-processed employing the same machining platform. The proposed approach thereby also served as a next step in evolution of done-in-one processes by printing near-net shape components through additive manufacturing and then promptly acquiring the net shape through subtractive manufacturing techniques.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.