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research-article

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, USA
roby.lynn@gatech.edu

Mahmoud Dinar

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
mdinar3@gatech.edu

Nuodi Huang

School of Power and Mechanical Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
huangnuodi@126.com

James Collins

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
jscollins@gatech.edu

Jing Yu

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
jeanj0412@gatech.edu

Clayton Greer

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
cgreer3@gatech.edu

Thomas M. Tucker

Tucker Innovations, Inc., Charlotte, NC, USA
tommy@tuckerinnovations.com

Thomas Kurfess

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
kurfess@gatech.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037631 History: Received March 23, 2017; Revised August 07, 2017

Abstract

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.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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