DfAM - How to Make Optimal 3D Printing Design

DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) is a design approach for manufacturability using 3D printers.

This approach emerged along with the introduction of 3D printers, which enabled the printing of complex shapes that was previously not possible using traditional manufacturing approaches.

The DfAM approach allows each user to maximize the potential of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.


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In order to maximize the potential of 3D printing, each user needs to know how to design a suitable model for 3D printing.

In this blog, we will discuss the design methodology for 3D printing, "Design for Additive Manufacturing" (DfAM).


Rise of DfAM concept

This design concept became relevant with the advancement of additive manufacturing technology, that is 3D printing technology. Various DfAM methodologies have also emerged over time.

These methodologies provide benefits, such as the reduction in part weight and material consumption, as well as an increase in functional effectiveness of a printed model.

DfAM fabWeaver type A530

Methodologies for DfAM

1. Topology Optimization

Topology optimization is a method of of mathematically calculating an optimal design within a given load condition or boundary condition, and design space.

As the shape of the product being designed quite freely during that mathematical calculation process, usually proceed concept design first and revise it back in accordance with traditional manufacturing method.

However, since there is no such restriction exist in additive manufacturing method, user can print the topology-optimized design for testing, or even produce actual product with that design.

Ordinary, this mathematical calculations being done in add-on of CAD software, or 3D design dedicated programs.

topology optimization-DfAM


2. Lattice structure

A lattice structure is a type of cellular structure which is inspired by nature.

Lattice structure is derived from the bonding structure of atoms and molecules, and this gives benefit of increasing strength of object yet decreasing its density.

Lattice structure is mainly applied in aerospace and medical engineering field.


Lattice Structure - DfAM


3. Multi-scale design

Traditional manufacturing methods are restricting units of size to one or two when design the model due to limitation of manufacturing tools.

However, additive manufacturing have no such restriction hence multiple units of shapes can be embodied in one single printed part.

For example with designing rocket heat exchanger, size of the model is huge in the unit of meters, yet operational efficiency can be maximized by adding porous or lattice structure in the unit of centimeter or millimeter.


Aerospace Engine - DfAM


4. Multi-material Design

Multi-material design means making parts from multiple materials at once.

Materials being extruded from nozzle in FFF or Polyjet printing, so user can use two different materials for printing with dual nozzle printer.

Not just simply printing with various materials, user can make a hybrid product by merging other industrial products such as nuts or screws during printing.


type A530 RSA support printing


5. Part Consolidation

Additive manufacturing enables to print complex design shapes and models, and this also offering opportunity to print out parts that were previously made by assembling several sub parts into one.

Such unified parts don't need assembly and fastening procedure which could decrease in strength, and also reduce production cost and time.


6. Mass Customization

It is already a well-known fact that 3D printing is suitable for small batch production with various types. But you can also maximize the benefits of this versatility.

Like topology optimization, after design the model which satisgying basic load or boundary conditions, user can simply changing setting for size or shapes with just a few clicks to generate hundreds of different designs, and this called 'Generative Design'.

Through this, lots of design for each individual's needs can be supported, or one design can be adjusted to fit to many different people's body.

Medical instrument customization - DfAM


Comparing traditional manufacturing method that carving materials to produce item, 3D printing is manufacturing item with layering materials.

This fundamental difference needs new perspective to look at the way how models are designed.



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