Shape Deposition Manufacturing
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One challenge for solid freeform fabrication has been to develop the capability to directly create functional metal shapes which are dense, metallurgically bonded, geometrically accurate and with good surface appearance. Shape Deposition is a manufacturing paradigm which attempts to address these issues. It incorporates the advantages of several processes including solid freeform fabrication (complex geometries, rapidly planned), 5-axis CNC machining (accuracy, smooth surfaces), shot-peening (for stress relief) and 'microcasting' (a high-performance, weldbased material deposition process). These processes are integrated within a CAD/CAM system using robotic automation. This paper will present the current research in this effort.