Multiple Collaborative Printing Heads in FDM: The Issues in Process Planning

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Leite, M.
Frutuoso, N.
Soares, B.
Ventura, R.

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University of Texas at Austin


One of the main drawbacks of large-scale FDM is fabrication time, due to the use of a single deposition head. In this paper we propose a novel approach to tool-path generation for a system with multiple collaborative independent deposition heads. This system allows the size of the parts to increase considerably in comparison to regular FDM systems without the corresponding time increase. However, to enable the tool-path generation, the conventional process planning must be changed. Once the machine configuration is defined, (e.g. number and size of heads), the regions are attributed to each head as either static or dynamic. Then the layer is divided into domains, assigned to each head. A centralized tool-path planner then generates tool-paths, accounting for collisions and optimizing the fabrication time in the layer. The process repeating for all layers. Examples of this approach show reduced fabrication time and larger part dimensions than conventional systems.


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