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Additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing

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3.6 Final components

It is common to hear of AM processes referred to as net-shape manufacturing. This means after the process is completed, the final product does not require any further processing or machining. With RP this was normally the case.

However, as AM is used more for functional parts and the emphasis of performance moves from aesthetic performance to functional performance, the requirement for further processing becomes greater.

After construction is complete, manufacturing engineers need to consider additional processes such as heat treatment, removal of support structures, additional curing or final surface machining. This might sound disappointing because a feature of AM is that it only requires a single process. This is still largely the case in that a mould is still not required and a part can be created in a single step from the design, but further processes are required to finish off the part.

Activity 4 Redesigning and using additive manufacturing

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

With the household product you chose for Activity 3, produce a step-by-step plan to redesign part or all of it for AM.

There are many considerations that need to be made. You need to think not just about making each component, but also making it in a more effective and efficient way.

For example, combining several components into a single one is an option with AM that can make the component more effective and its manufacture more efficient. But the capabilities of many AM processes also allow each part of the product to be reimagined so that material is only placed where it is absolutely necessary. This provides even greater overall efficiency in the production system.

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In Figure 6 at the start of Section 3 a flow diagram of typical additive manufacturing operations is presented. At each of the stages described there is a design element and all the preceding stages must be effectively carried out. The wrong concept cannot be improved by the following steps although it is possible to revisit stages. You should consider each stage in sequence to carry out a redesign.