Multiple-Material Topology Optimization of Compliant Mechanisms Created via Polyjet 3D Printing
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Compliant mechanisms are able to transfer motion, force, and energy using a monolithic structure without discrete hinge elements. The geometric design freedoms and multi-material capability offered by the PolyJet 3D printing process enables the fabrication of compliant mechanisms with optimized topology. The inclusion of multiple materials in the topology optimization process has the potential to eliminate the narrow, weak, hinge-like sections that are often present in single-material compliant mechanisms. In this paper, the authors propose a design and fabrication process for the realization of 3-phase, multiple-material compliant mechanisms. The process is tested on a 2D compliant force inverter. Experimental and theoretical performance of the resulting 3-phase inverter is compared against a standard 2-phase design.