Predicting Part Mass, Required Support Material, and Build Time via Autoencoded Voxel Patterns

Murphy, C., Meisel, N., Simpson, T.W., and McComb, C.

2018, 29th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium

Additive Manufacturing (AM) allows designers to create intricate geometries that were once too complex or expensive to achieve through traditional manufacturing processes. Currently, Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) is restricted to experts in the field, and novices may overlook potentially transformational design potential enabled by AM. This project aims to make DfAM accessible to a broader audience through deep learning, enabling designers of all skill levels to leverage unique AM geometries when creating new designs. To demonstrate such an approach, a database of files was acquired from industry-sponsored AM challenges focused on lightweight design. These files were converted to a voxelized format, which provides more robust information for machine learning applications. Next, an autoencoder was constructed to a low-dimensional representation of the part designs. Finally, that autoencoder was used to construct a deep neural network capable of predicting various DfAM attributes. This work demonstrates a novel foray towards a more extensive DfAM support system that supports designers at all experience levels.