While additive manufacturing allows more complex shapes than conventional manufacturing processes, there is a clear benefit in leveraging both new and old processes in the definition of metal parts. For example, one could create complex part shapes where the main “body” is defined by extrusion and machining, while small protruding features are defined by additive manufacturing. This paper looks at how optimization and geometric reasoning can be combined to identify cutting planes within complex three-dimensional (3D) shapes. These cutting planes are used to divide realistic mechanical parts into subparts that can be joined together through additive manufacturing or linear friction welding (LFW). The optimization method presents possible manufacturing alternatives to an engineering designer where optimality is defined as a minimization of cost. The paper presents and compares several cutting planes identification methods and describes how the optimization finds the optimal results for several example parts.

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