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Construction of a Curved Layer Rapid Prototyping System: Integrating Mechanical, Electronic and Software Engineering

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3 Author(s)
Huang, B. ; Sch. of Eng., Auckland Univ. of Technol., Auckland ; Singamneni, S. ; Diegel, O.

Rapid prototyping, or additive layered manufacturing, allows mechanical products to be built from computer aided design (CAD) data by having software slice the model up into flat slices and then 'printing' each flat slice on top of the previous one until the model is complete. This paper describes the construction of a rapid prototyping machine that allows the printing of models with curved layers which follow the natural shape of the part instead of the current flat layers. This allows for the creation of curved, or angled, parts that do not suffer from the "stair-case" effect of flat layered parts and are evenly strong across their entire surface. This project is a good example of a mechatronic system in which a complex mechanical system must be controlled through an electronic motor control system, and software must first perform the algorithms to slice a 3D model into slices, and then use the data from each slice to control the electromechanical system to product that slice. The paper discusses a proof of concept of the system constructed with a modified Fab@Home desktop rapid prototyping machine, discusses the algorithms used to generate the curve paths for the deposition head, and examines the challenges and possibilities of this technology.

Published in:

Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice, 2008. M2VIP 2008. 15th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

2-4 Dec. 2008