Integration of Solid Freeform Fabrication in Design
During the last few decades, designers have been educated to develop designs with restricted geometry so that parts can be made easily. The revolutionary aspect of Rapid Manufacturing will be that geometry will no longer be a limiting factor. The introduction of Rapid Manufacturing will have a number of effects on Design. It will be possible to have re-entrant shapes without complicating manufacturing, no draft angles, variable wall thickness, no split lines and fewer parts leading to easier assembly and lower stock. The individual designer’s method of working will change with the introduction of Rapid Manufacturing and also there will be changes to the overall design process. Examples will be the elimination of prototype and pre-production stages, as end part manufacture will occur as soon as the CAD is finished. This will affect project management practices and sign-off procedures.