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Application of Topology Optimization and Design for Additive Manufacturing Guidelines on an Automotive Component

[+] Author Affiliations
Sai Nithin Reddy K., Vincent Maranan, Timothy W. Simpson

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Todd Palmer, Corey J. Dickman

Applied Research Laboratory, State College, PA

Paper No. DETC2016-59719, pp. V02AT03A030; 10 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2A: 42nd Design Automation Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5010-7
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Topology optimization is a well-established engineering practice to optimize the design and layout of parts to create lightweight and low-cost structures, which have historically been difficult, or impossible, to make. Additive Manufacturing (AM) provides the freedom to fabricate the complex and organic shapes that topology optimization often generates. In this paper we use topology optimization to create lightweight designs while conforming to additive manufacturing constraints related to overhanging features and unsupported surfaces when using metallic materials. More specifically, we use design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) rules along with topology optimization to study the tradeoffs between the weight of the part, support requirements, manufacturing costs, and performance. The case study entails redesigning an upright on the SAE Formula student racecar to reduce support structures and manufacturing and material cost when using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Manufacturing the optimized design without applying DfAM rules required support material up to 202.4% of the volume of the model. Using DfAM, the upright is redesigned and manufactured with supports requiring less than 15% of the volume of the model. The results demonstrate the challenges in achieving a balance between weight reduction, manufacturing costs, and factor of safety of the design.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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