This paper aims to explore the design and fabrication of meso-scale Manufacturing Process-Driven Structured Materials (MPDSMs). These are designed, architected materials where the prime design requirement is manufacturability. The concepts are applied to those fabricated using fused deposition modeling or fused filament fabrication (FDM/FFF), a thermoplastic polymer additive manufacturing (AM) process. Three case studies were presented to demonstrate the approach.
The paper consists of four main sections; the first developed the MPDSMs concept, the second explored manufacturability requirements for FDM/FFF in terms of MPDSMs, the third presented a practical application framework and the final sections provided some case studies and closing remarks.
The main contributions of this study were the definition and development of the MDPSMs concept, the application framework and the original case studies. While it is most practical to use a well-defined AM process to first explore the concepts, the MPDSMs approach is neither limited to AM nor thermoplastic polymer materials nor meso-scale material structures. Future research should focus on applications in other areas.
The MPDSMs approach as presented in this concept paper is a novel method for the design of structured materials where manufacturability is the prime requirement. It is distinct from classic design-for-manufacturability concepts in that the design space is limited to manufacturable design candidates before the other requirements are satisfied. This removes a significant amount of schedule and costs risk from the design process, as all the designs produced are manufacturable within the problem tolerance.