Adaptive Slicing of Solid Freeform Fabrication Processes
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The Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) process significantly reduces part specific setup manufacturing lead time. This process has been primarily used in fabricating prototypes for design visualization and verification. However, the major impact of this process on the future of manufacturing technology would be the possibility offabricating functional parts for end use. One ofthe obstacles to this goal is the insufficient accuracy ofthe final physical part produced by the process. From the software point of view, the major sources of the inaccuracy come from the inappropriate data transfer format and the 3D aliasing' or Stair-stepping' problem. The '3D aliasing' problem can be reduced by adapting the layer thickness to the geometry of the part. In this paper, the procedure of adaptive slicing from the exact representation ofthe part model is described. This will improve part accuracy and minimize building time especially for the parts with highly curved surfaces. The procedures are implemented and a comparison to the conventional uniform layer thickness method will be discussed.