Customized topology optimization for additive manufacturing
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One of the biggest limitations of additive manufacturing (AM) is the resulting production times. Due to the layer-based method of material deposition, the time to produce a single part is substantial compared to techniques like injection molding or casting. However, the level of part complexity that can be achieved using AM processes is also unrivaled. This is a perfect match for the structural design method of topology optimization. It often produces parts with complex organic features that can perform substantially better in terms of weight and stiffness compared to their conventionally designed counterparts. Thus, an AM topology optimization constraint is developed to address the limitations of these processes while maintaining the advantages of the optimization. This is achieved through a penalization scheme applied to boundary contours identified through a slicing mechanism. The result is parts that print substantially faster, while only losing some stiffness compared to the normal topology optimization.