A Triz-Based Analysis of the Fundamental Limits of Fused Filament Fabrication

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Weaver, J.M.
Patternson, C.

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University of Texas at Austin


Each category of additive manufacturing (AM) has specific fundamental limitations bounded by the physics and material properties involved. For example, the speed of fused filament fabrication (FFF) processes is bounded by how quickly thermoplastics can be melted, deposited, and resolidified while retaining material properties and dimensional accuracy. Incremental improvements approaching these theoretical limits will continue to occur, but more radical changes are necessary to completely overcome the current constraints. This paper considers some of the fundamental limits bounding FFF processes and investigates possible avenues for future research to overcome these limits. The framework for this analysis is the “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” (TRIZ), a formalized problem solving and ideation tool that generalizes design-specific problems into contradicting engineering parameters, then suggests universal design principles based on analogy to solutions in other systems and patents. TRIZ has been used in many fields successfully, including the design of parts to be more manufacturable through AM, but literature on its application to additive manufacturing processes themselves is limited. Two case studies are shared demonstrating how TRIZ-based analysis can lead to radical improvements in FFF and other AM technologies.


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