Additive manufacturing is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. Additive manufacturing replaces historical terms, such as solid free form manufacturing and rapid prototyping, and is also commonly referred to as 3D printing.
The main advantages of additive manufacturing are related to the ability to produce complex geometries, lighter structures and the ability to allow customization. Also, in additive manufacturing processes, the complexity itself does not add costs as in subtractive manufacturing, and the material is added primarily only where it is needed, so the parts are lighter by default.
Additive manufacturing is one of the newest manufacturing methods and is very popular nowadays, especially for bespoke geometries. However, there are many problems that need to be solved for both on-of-a-kind and mass production.
The project aim is to investigate the additive manufacturing issues and to propose innovative methods of additive manufacturing process improvement.
Additive manufacturing has previously been used primarily for prototyping. However, nowadays, many functional parts are manufactured using additive manufacturing techniques and materials. A future improvement will be the analysis of the standardization of existing materials or different composite materials and the proposal of different methods to improve the functionality of the parts.
This project could also investigate how the support structure and internal characteristics of additive manufacturing will influence the surface finish and internal features. Some challenges of structural design approaches for additive manufacturing such as the performance characterization and scale effects of additively manufactured lattice structures, the anisotropy and fatigue performance of additively manufactured material, and additively manufactured functionally graded material issues, etc. could be further analysed.
On the other hand, structural optimization for additive manufacturing is and will be still a hot and attractive issue and further researches is needed to optimize and design practice industrial structures.
Last, but not least, it can be investigated how additive manufacturing can be combined with other processes in hybrid manufacturing to obtain a standardised surface finish.