Additive manufacturing processes create metal and plastic parts layer by layer and without formative tooling. Hence, new design freedoms occur that can provide great benefits to users of this technology. In order to make these design freedoms and design restrictions accessible, the Direct Manufacturing Design Rules (DMDR) project has the aim to develop design rules for additive manufacturing.
Within a first step, a process independent method for the development of design rules was worked out. The basis for this method is given by standard elements. These are geometrical objects which often reoccur by designing technical parts. The spectrum of standard elements covers:
- Basic elements (e.g. plates, zylinders)
- Element transitions (e.g. joints)
- Aggregated structures (e.g. islands, overhangs)
Based on the defined standard elements, design rules have been methodically developed for Laser Sintering (LS), Laser Melting (LM) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The design rules are function independent, completely focused on geometry and thereby easily transferable on individual parts designs.
Due to the prior developed method, all considered processes could be handled with an equal proceeding for the design rule development. Hence, a direct comparison between the process specific results was possible. By means of this comparison, communalities in the design for manufacturing were found for the considered processes. Based on these communalities, design rules were developed that apply for the considered processes equally.