Solid Freeform Fabrication An Advanced Manufacturing Approach
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Solid freeform fabrication (SFF) is the production of freeform solid objects directly from a computer model without part-specific tooling or human intervention. SFF has been realized in the last ten years through the merging of several previously distinct technologies: computer science, mechanical design, controls, high-energy beam technology and materials science and engineering. Their combination has produced over a relatively short time..frame numerous SFF methods. The value of SFF to the commercial sector is usually articulated in terms of reduced time to market (prototyping), low production "one-of-a-kind" parts and patterns for casting. The purpose of this introductory paper is to describe briefly some of the approaches to SFF as a background for the articles included in this proceedings.