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Functional Prototyping and Tooling of FDM Additive Manufactured Parts

[+] Author Affiliations
Farzad Rayegani, Godfrey C. Onwubolu, Attila Nagy, Hargurdeep Singh

Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Brampton, ON, Canada

Paper No. IMECE2014-37828, pp. V02AT02A010; 7 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2A: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4643-8
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


In this paper, we present two additive manufacturing applications: (1) vacuum forming tooling using AM; (2) rocket functional prototype using AM for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind-tunnel testing. The first application shows how additive manufacturing (AM) facilitates the manufacture of vacuum formed parts, which allows such parts to be easily produced especially in the manufacturing sector. We show how combining the advantages of the CAD and FDM technology, vacuum forming can be completed quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. The paper shows that using modified build parameters, the tools FDM creates can be inherently porous, which eliminates the time needed for drilling vent holes that are necessary for other vacuum forming tools, while improving part quality with an evenly distributed vacuum draw. Using SolidWorks CAD software, the model of the tool is created. The STL file is exported to the Insight software, and we present how the Tool Paths Custom Group feature is applied to optimize the tool-paths file and then sent to the FDM system that prints the tooling from ABS engineering thermoplastic. The tooling is then used in the Formech 686 manual vacuum forming machine to produce the vacuum formed part.

The second application shows how additive manufacturing (AM) has been applied to producing functional model for wind–tunnel testing, as well as providing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool for comparing results obtained from the wind-tunnel testing. The present work is focused on applications of FDM technology for manufacturing wind tunnel test models. The CAD model of a rocket was analyzed for its aerodynamic properties and its functional prototype produced using AM for use in wind–tunnel testing so as to verify and tune the aerodynamic properties. Initial wall conditions were defined for the rocket in terms of the air velocity. The flow simulation was carried out and the goals examined are the velocity and pressure fields around the rocket model. The paper examines some practical issues that arise between how the model geometry for CDF process differs from that that of the FDM process.

Consequently, we show that AM-based fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology is faster, less expensive and more efficient than traditional manufacturing processes for vacuum forming and for rapid prototyping of function models for wind-tunnel applications.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Tooling



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