Design for AM

Anatomy of an AM part failure: Lessons for managers, designers and producers from 2021’s Olympic bike crash

In the men’s track cycling team pursuit qualifying at the 2020 Olympics, broadcast live to a global audience, a handlebar part produced by metal Additive Manufacturing failed with catastrophic consequences for the rider, Australia’s Alex Porter. Six months later, a forensic analysis of the incident was published as a 170-page report. The good news is that the company that made the AM part, along with the technology itself, were cleared of blame. So: what went wrong, and what lessons can be learned? Robin Weston digs into the details. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 8 No. 2, Summer 2022] ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Team Australia's Kelland O'Brien, Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, and Alexander Porter pictured during the qualifying round of the Men's Team Pursuit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo credit Shutaro Mochizuki/AFLO/Alamy Live News)

Opening the discussion: How the humble bottle opener demonstrates the importance of requirements in AM

Designs not driven by requirements increase the risk of an incomplete solution. This relatively simple statement gets to the heart of how designers need to be approaching AM, particularly when balancing the ‘design freedoms’ offered by the technology with the reality of viable and profitable production. Through an exploration of the ubiquitous AM bottle opener, John Barnes, Jennifer Coyne and Chelsea Cummings, The Barnes Global Advisors, and Jon Meyer, APWorks, explore how, by focusing on requirements, a data-driven approach ensures fully functional designs that deliver on multiple requirements for the lowest cost. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 1, Spring 2022] ... Read more »

Fig. 1 The opportunistic and restrictive design space: DfAM and MfAM

Simufact Additive: Accelerating the metal Binder Jetting workflow with sintering simulation

The ability to ‘design out’ distortion during sintering is seen as key to enabling the faster commercialisation of metal Binder Jetting (BJT). The Simufact Additive software platform, now on the third release of its BJT sintering module, is able to accurately simulate the sintering process, predicting shrinkage, slumping and friction-related distortion, either with or without ‘live’ and ‘ceramic’ setters, resulting in a downloadable ‘compensated’ component geometry to be fed directly to the AM machine. In this article, Jeff Robertson explores through case studies how The ExOne Company has been using the software in its AM adoption and R&D centres to optimise customer parts for sintering. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 6 No. 3, Autumn 2021] ... Read more »

I want to break free: The journey towards reducing or eliminating support structures in Additive Manufacturing

Support structures have been there for us since the beginning of AM, anchoring us to a firm foundation and taking the heat when things get intense. But they also bring with them baggage that is now holding us back, blocking channels and taking up valuable time and materials. Is it time to break free? In this article, Jennifer Coyne and John Barnes, of The Barnes Global Advisors, explore our journey so far with support structures, their advantages and disadvantages, and consider the opportunities and impact of the shift towards ‘support free’ strategies. Through three case studies, cost and productivity of conventional and ‘support free’ production are compared. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 6 No. 3, Autumn 2021] ... Read more »

The future is Additive Manufacturing – if we take a more holistic view of the design opportunities

The uptake of Additive Manufacturing by industry, believes Autodesk’s Paul Sohi, has been both stratospherically high and confusingly low. In explaining and addressing this dichotomy, Sohi explores the multiple potentials of AM when approached by taking a more holistic view of design challenges. Whilst there is no doubt that the popularisation of AM technology is influencing how we design products by shifting the design language to embrace more complex or nonstandard forms, Sohi believes that this is where the application of AM seems to be stagnating. So, how can we close the loop from design to manufacturing? [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 2, Summer 2021] ... Read more »

Forging a process for mass customisation via metal Additive Manufacturing

Metal Additive Manufacturing technologies offer the potential for true mass customisation, but in order to leverage this opportunity, new, complex workflows and business models have to be implemented. In this article, Siemens Digital Industries Software’s Ashley Eckhoff considers the challenges when addressing the topic, from the addition of further complexity, to an already challenging Additive Manufacturing workflow, to traceability and regulation. By adapting the AM process to meet these needs, companies can reap the benefits of new markets uniquely suited to this technology. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 2, Summer 2021] ... Read more »

Optimised thermal management in semiconductor fabrication using AI-enabled generative design and Additive Manufacturing

An unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been its impact on the multibillion dollar semiconductor microchip market: at the very same moment as demand for consumer electronics skyrocketed due to global lockdowns, the supply of semiconductors was bottlenecked by production disruptions. Now, supply chain shortages threaten the production volume of the industries dependent on these parts. Scott Green and Niels Holmstock, 3D Systems, and Lieven Vervecken and Gert-Jan Paulus, Diabatix, explore how metal AM can be used to increase efficiency in semiconductor fabrication and boost the speed at which these vital components can be produced. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 2, Summer 2021] ... Read more »

Design for Additive Manufacturing: A workflow for a metal AM heat exchanger using nTopology

Heat exchangers have become – excuse the pun – a hot topic in metal Additive Manufacturing. This is an application that can, in one go, leverage advances in equation-driven CAD design software and the capabilities of AM to produce geometries that would be impossible by any other manufacturing process. Olaf Diegel, Wohlers Associates, reports on a project exploring workflows for AM heat exchanger design using design tools from nTopology. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 2, Summer 2021] ... Read more »

Obstacles to the adoption of metal AM by small- and medium-sized enterprises

It is no secret that metal Additive Manufacturing still faces significant challenges that stand in the way of broader adoption in industry. Aside from AM service providers, very few small- to medium-sized enterprises have brought metal AM in-house; many lack the capabilities, knowledge and resources to do so, even if the will is there. In this article, Olaf Diegel, Noah Mostow and Terry Wohlers discuss the complex, and often multi-faceted, obstacles that stand between AM and its wider global adoption, and how those obstacles can be addressed and resolved in order to clear the path to achieving the technology’s full market potential. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 7 No. 1, Spring 2021] ... Read more »

Metal AM in South Africa: Research and commercial initiatives bring the benefit of AM to the African continent

The Additive Manufacturing industry in South Africa has come a long way since the installation of the country’s first AM machine in 1991, with a number of research and commercial initiatives driving the development of world-class applications and knowledge. In this article, Terry Wohlers and Olaf Diegel, Wohlers Associates, present an overview of metal Additive Manufacturing activities in South Africa, from the technology’s life-changing use for medical implants to its development for rapid, large-scale part production and beyond. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 6 No. 4, Winter 2020] ... Read more »

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

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