Due to its additive nature, AM possesses several unique capabilities that enable products to have significantly improved performance, to perform multiple functions, to be customized, and to be manufactured at lower overall costs. These unique capabilities include:
Based on these unique capabilities, an overall design for AM (DFAM) objective can be stated and several core DFAM concepts can be articulated. Whereas conventional design-for-manufacturing focuses on understanding the effects of manufacturing constraints, the objective of DFAM should be to:
From the unique capabilities and DFAM objective, I offer some example guidelines to designers:
AM should be of interest to designers for a very simple reason. AM processes can put material wherever the designer wants it; all the designer has to do is figure out where material is needed. This opens up a tremendously wide range of design spaces to be explored. Several research opportunities for engineering...