Despite established several decades ago, additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is still very popular in the field of manufacturing research. AM enables complex geometries to be produced through a layer-by-layer approach, adding materials on top of each other. AM plays an important role in rapid prototyping and is moving towards manufacturing finalised, ready-to-use end products. AM offers a high degree of customisation therefore suitable for early-stage product development in which various embodiments of designs need to be prototyped and examined. However, failure during printing is often seen due to various reasons such as flaws in the design, material distortion, stress concentration and vibration. In most cases, the printer will keep working on the failed part, and without human intervention, it simply wastes time and material. More importantly, existing pre-processing software is not capable of monitoring real-time printing status and make adjustments accordingly. As a result, a ‘smart’ 3D printer that is able to predict potential failures, monitor real-time printing and capable of making in-print adjustments is appreciated. Such a printer is envisaged to have the advantages of reducing the trial and error testing, reducing possible defects and highlight problems and even provide potential solutions.
In this project, the PhD candidate ill work on the development of such in-house 3D printer and its assocated software to promote smart manufacturing.