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Using Additive Manufacturing Considerations and Opportunities to Improve Part Design
Nick Meisel, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
1 p.m.
Peralta (PRLTA) 122, Polytechnic campus [map]

The “free complexity” offered by the layer-by-layer nature of Additive Manufacturing (AM, colloquially 3D printing) allows engineers to design and create parts that were previously unthinkable or impossible to manufacture. In particular, the PolyJet material jetting process deposits droplets of liquid photopolymer and cures them with an ultraviolet light source. This allows for the creation of complex, monolithic, multi-material structures, with properties that can range from polypropylene-like to rubber-like. However, there is currently a lack of understanding and characterization regarding important manufacturing considerations to help guide designers in their use of the PolyJet process. This talk will emphasize the identification and quantification of both single- and multi-material PolyJet considerations and the role that they play when combined with automated design methodologies, such as topology optimization. Some of the constraints under investigation include support material removal, minimum manufacturable feature size, blending between multi-material regions, and accurate recreation of intermediate material properties. In addition, this talk will discuss further design and manufacturing considerations necessary to establish a method for the in-situ embedding of actuating elements within PolyJet parts. This embedding process and the importance of the associated design considerations will be demonstrated though a case study detailing the manufacture of a “smart,” compliant wing flap. Finally, this talk will briefly touch on methods to improve open access to AM technologies through novel user interfaces, thus utilizing the power of collaboration and democratization to improve on innovative part design.

Nick Meisel is currently completing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received his B.S. in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since joining the Virginia Tech DREAMS Lab in 2010, he has pursued a wide variety of work in the field of Additive Manufacturing, ranging from complex design to process hybridization to systems-level decision support methods. His current research focuses on investigating design considerations for PolyJet printing when combined with topology optimization and in-situ embedding. Additional work includes an investigation into the casting of complex metal structures via printed sand molds and the development of a systems-level decision support tool for AM in remote/austere environments. He was also part of the team that designed and created the DreamVendor (the world’s first 3D printing vending machine) and has served as a 3D printing consultant for LAIKA animation studios, makers of ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls.

*Seminar is FREE and available via Adobe Connect; click here for access.


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