Design for Additive Manufacturing

  • Ian Gibson
  • David W. Rosen
  • Brent Stucker


Design for manufacture and assembly (DFM) has typically meant that designers should tailor their designs to eliminate manufacturing difficulties and minimize manufacturing, assembly, and logistics costs. However, the capabilities of additive manufacturing technologies provide an opportunity to rethink DFM to take advantage of the unique capabilities of these technologies. As we will cover in Chap. 14, several companies are now using AM technologies for production manufacturing. For example, Siemens, Phonak, Widex, and the other hearing aid manufacturers use selective laser sintering and stereolithography machines to produce hearing aid shells, Align Technology uses stereolithography to fabricate molds for producing clear dental braces (“aligners”), and Boeing and its suppliers use selective laser sintering to produce ducts and similar parts for F-18 fighter jets. For hearing aids and dental aligners, AM machines enable manufacturing of tens to hundreds of thousands of parts; where each part is uniquely customized based upon person-specific geometric data. In the case of aircraft components, AM technology enables low volume manufacturing, easy integration of design changes and, at least as importantly, piece part reductions to greatly simplify product assembly.

The unique capabilities of AM technologies enable new opportunities for customization, very significant improvements in product performance, multifunctionality, and lower overall manufacturing costs. These unique capabilities include: shape complexity, in that it is possible to build virtually any shape; hierarchical complexity, in that hierarchical multiscale structures can be designed and fabricated from the microstructure through geometric mesostructure (sizes in the millimeter range) to the part-scale macrostructure; material complexity, in that material can be processed one point, or one layer, at a time; and functional complexity, in that fully functional assemblies and mechanisms can be fabricated directly using AM processes. These capabilities will be expanded upon in Sect. 11.4.


Particle Swarm Optimization Material Composition Mass Customization Selective Laser Sinter Unique Capability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Gibson
    • 1
  • David W. Rosen
    • 2
  • Brent Stucker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical & Production EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical & Aerospace EngineeringUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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