It’s not as simple as changing the manufacturing method. True DFAM involves tradeoffs, specialization and even failure.
Blog From: 4/24/2017, Stephanie Hendrixson, Associate Editor, Additive Manufacturing
The mandate to implement “design for additive manufacturing” (or neatly abbreviated: DFAM) is not as simple as designing a part to be built additively. The ideal DFAM workflow is actually recursive—it must exist in a feedback loop that includes not only the additive process, but also the material to be used, the parameters of the machine, postprocessing needs, and the essential properties and function of the part.
A recent DFAM seminar touched on all stages of the additive process. Hosted by SME as part of its Smart Manufacturing seminar series, the event took place in Knoxville, Tennessee. (View the schedule and register for future events here.) Over the course of a day, industry experts from AM equipment suppliers, users and national labs spoke about the challenges of designing for additive in the context of their organizations.
Here are some of the themes that emerged:
True DFAM starts with a “clean sheet of paper.” Brian Levy, design engineer for Joe Gibbs Racing, made this point in talking about his company’s experience moving from traditional manufacturing to AM on many custom racecar parts. He says the engineering team had to learn by experience that they couldn’t just print off a replacement of an existing CAD part and expect it to function the same way as the machined part. Instead, they’ve learned to start with a blank page for additive parts, redesigning rather than adapting, while taking into consideration the material and the machine to be used. In some cases this means designing a part that will print successfully on more than one system, he says, citing a series of dashboard inserts that were originally designed for an FDM system, but later tested and produced successfully on an Objet printer as well. Read more