Manufacturing of Instrumented Prototypes

Date

2001

Authors

Shimek, Moss
Patwardhan, Nachiket
Wood, Kristin L.
Beaman, Joseph
Crawford, Richard

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The research for the Cybernetic Physical project at UT Austin has the goal of producing instrumented prototypes, using selective laser sintering (SLS) that can be used in concert with similarity methods to update virtual models. The SLS process builds prototypes sintering powder in a 2-D cross-section, layer by layer, with a CO2 laser. Accomplishing this goal could significantly reduce cycle times and costs associated with traditional prototyping methods. Strain gages and thermocouples are chosen as the first sensors to be embedded. Experiments have been carried out to determine the feasibility of embedding sensors both after the manufacturing process as well as during the SLS process. These experiments have yielded data that will serve as a set of design requirements for the embedding process. The results from the post-embedded prototypes closely matched the theoretical results in one case. Hence a design of experiments will be carried out to study the effects of various factors on these sensors. Embedding thermocouples during an SLS build cycle uncovered issues that must be addressed in the design process, such as keeping the sensor and lead wires flat on the cross-section and managing the extra lead wires. A 1-D heat source, pin fin model was used to accurately predict the temperature reading of the thermo couple in the sample. The error was approximately 3.3%.

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