Machine Issues Associated with Solid Freeform Fabrication
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Before we begin a discussion of machine issues it is important that we categorize exactly what we mean. There are differences between the design of a research piece of equipment as compared to a commercial piece of equipment. A research piece of equipment has to have the flexibility to demonstrate a success pattern. A commercial piece of equipment, on the other hand, assumes that you have a stable platform and you are now trying to assess how broad a success path you have (Figure 1). In fact, you are trying to make that path as broad as possible so that the machine will not fail and will always work the same way. This particular talk, and my expertise, is much more along the lines of design of a research piece of equipment. What I will be talking about today are machine issues associated with developing a success path in Solid Freeform Fabrication. The machines we will be talking about have to have the flexibility to operate in a wide variety of ways with a wide variety of experiments.