Local Adaptive Slicing for Layered Manufacturing


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Virginia Tech


Existing layered manufacturing systems fabricate parts using a constant build layer thickness. Hence, operators must compromise between rapid production with large surface inaccuracies, and slow production with high precision, by choosing between thick and thin build layers, respectively. Adaptive layered manufacturing methods alleviate this decision by automatically adjusting the build layer thickness to accommodate surface geometry, thereby potentially enabling part fabrication in significantly less time. Unfortunately, conventional adaptive layered manufacturing techniques are often unable to realize this potential when transitioning from the laboratory to an industrial setting. The problem is that they apply the variable build layer thickness uniformly across each horizontal build plane, applying the same build layer thickness to all parts and part features across that plane even though they have different build layer thickness needs. When this happens, the advantage of using adaptive build layer thicknesses is lost. This thesis demonstrates how to minimize fabrication times when implementing adaptive layered manufacturing. Specifically, it presents a new method in which each part or individual part feature is assigned a distinct, independent build layer thickness according to its particular surface geometry. Additionally, this thesis presents a calibration procedure for the Fused Deposition Modeler (FDM) rapid prototyping system that enables accurate, adaptively sliced parts to be physically realizable. Experimental software has been developed and sample parts have been fabricated to demonstrate both aspects of this work.



adaptive slicing, calibration, contour matching, fuxed deposition modeler, FDM, rapid prototyping