A novel approach for the near-net-shape manufacturing of short fiber reinforced composite parts through robotic deposition of chopped fibers is presented. A device for the deposition of discrete packets of short fibers is developed. A simulation tool is described that predicts the optimal locations within a mold to deposit fibers from the deposition device in order to obtain composites with a uniform fiber density distribution within a part of complex perimeter geometry. The implementation of the deposition device in conjunction with a six-degree-of-freedom robot is described. Composite preforms are generated, and subsequently converted into composite parts via resin transfer molding. Mechanical testing was conducted on near-net-shape manufactured notched specimens and notched specimens machined from the bulk. Testing shows that the near-net-shape manufactured specimens possess at least equal stiffness and strength to those machined from the bulk.

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