Additive Manufacturing without Layers: A New Solid Freeform Fabrication Process based on CNC Accumulation

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Chen, Yong
Zhou, Chi
Luo, Jingyuan

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University of Texas at Austin


Most current additive manufacturing processes are layer-based, that is building a physical model layer-by-layer. By converting 3-dimensional geometry into 2-dimensional contours, the layer-based approach can dramatically simplify the process planning steps. However, there are also drawbacks associated with the layer-based approach such as inconsistent material properties between various directions. In a recent NSF workshop on additive manufacturing, it is suggested to investigate alternative non-layer based approaches. In this paper, we present an additive manufacturing process without planar layers. In the developed testbed, an additive tool based on a fiber optics cable and a UV-LED has been developed. By merging such tools inside a liquid resin tank, we demonstrate its capability of building various 2D and 3D structures. The technical challenges related to the development of such a process are discussed. Some potential applications including part repairing and building around inserts have also been demonstrated.


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