Exploring the Impact of Shape Complexity on Build Time for Material Extrusion and Material Jetting

  • Patrick PradelEmail author
  • Richard Bibb
  • Zicheng Zhu
  • James Moultrie
Conference paper


“Complexity for free” has often been claimed as one of the main opportunities of additive manufacturing (AM). Many examples have proven how, for highly complex and intricate geometries, additive manufacturing is the only available route. However, the implications that shape complexity has on part cost have not been thoroughly explored. This is especially relevant for series production where optimisation of building time can lead to significant cost savings. This study explores how shape complexity impacts build time in Material Extrusion (ME) and Material Jetting (MJ). A screening experiment is presented where the impact of ‘area’, ‘size’ and ‘increase in perimeter’ on build time is analysed. The results show that these three factors influence building time in ME, while only ‘size’ has a significant effect in MJ. Our results challenge the mainstream assumption that all AM processes provide “Complexity for free” while presenting preliminary indications on how to design efficient components for ME and MJ.


Design for additive manufacturing Shape complexity Design for cost Costing Additive manufacturing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loughborough Design SchoolLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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