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Research Papers

Direct Digital Subtractive Manufacturing of a Functional Assembly Using Voxel-Based Models

[+] Author and Article Information
Roby Lynn

George W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: roby.lynn@gatech.edu

Mahmoud Dinar, James Collins, Jing Yu, Clayton Greer, Thomas Kurfess

George W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332

Nuodi Huang

School of Power and Mechanical Engineering,
Wuhan University,
Wuhan 430072, China

Tommy Tucker

Tucker Innovations, Inc.,
Charlotte, NC 28105

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received March 23, 2017; final manuscript received August 7, 2017; published online December 18, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Tony Schmitz.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 140(2), 021006 (Dec 18, 2017) (14 pages) Paper No: MANU-17-1163; doi: 10.1115/1.4037631 History: Received March 23, 2017; Revised August 07, 2017

Direct digital manufacturing (DDM) is the creation of a physical part directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) model with minimal process planning and is typically applied to additive manufacturing (AM) processes to fabricate complex geometry. AM is preferred for DDM because of its minimal user input requirements; as a result, users can focus on exploiting other advantages of AM, such as the creation of intricate mechanisms that require no assembly after fabrication. Such assembly free mechanisms can be created using DDM during a single build process. In contrast, subtractive manufacturing (SM) enables the creation of higher strength parts that do not suffer from the material anisotropy inherent in AM. However, process planning for SM is more difficult than it is for AM due to geometric constraints imposed by the machining process; thus, the application of SM to the fabrication of assembly free mechanisms is challenging. This research describes a voxel-based computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) system that enables direct digital subtractive manufacturing (DDSM) of an assembly free mechanism. Process planning for SM involves voxel-by-voxel removal of material in the same way that an AM process consists of layer-by-layer addition of material. The voxelized CAM system minimizes user input by automatically generating toolpaths based on an analysis of accessible material to remove for a certain clearance in the mechanism's assembled state. The DDSM process is validated and compared to AM using case studies of the manufacture of two assembly free ball-in-socket mechanisms.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Surface representation by voxels

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Fig. 2

WYSIWYG approach to CAM using SculptPrint

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Fig. 3

Part and contact volumes for ball-in-socket assembly: (a) part volume and (b) offset volume

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Fig. 5

Degrees-of-freedom in five-axis machining

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Fig. 6

Surface requiring tool attitude control

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Fig. 7

Configuration of the millturn machine

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Fig. 8

Unsupported ball-in-socket assembly

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Fig. 17

Result of machining assembly with 4.762 mm gap: (a) voxel model and (b) resulting part

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Fig. 18

Ball-in-socket assembly with dislodged supports

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Fig. 4

Determination of tool orientation using accessibility maps

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Fig. 19

Machining progression for ball-in-socket assembly with 3.175 mm gap

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Fig. 20

Completed ball-in-socket assembly with 3.175 mm gap

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Fig. 16

Machining process for assembly with 4.762 mm gap

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Fig. 15

Additively manufactured ball-in-socket assemblies in different orientations

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Fig. 14

Tool accessibility maps for redesigned ball-in-socket assembly: (a) position along toolpath and resulting map and (b) position along toolpath and resulting map

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Fig. 13

Redesigned ball-in-socket assembly suitable for 4 + 1-axis millturn machine

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Fig. 12

Accessibility maps along toolpath for ball-in-socket assembly

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Fig. 11

Progression of toolpaths and volume removal on ball-in-socket assembly: (a) start volume, (b) tool pass 1, (c) tool pass 2, and (d) end volume

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Fig. 10

Stress analysis of support structures

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Fig. 9

Ball-in-socket assembly with support structures

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Fig. 21

Accessibility simulation and physical result: (a) accessibility simulation and (b) physical result at machine tool

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