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A survey of the design methods for additive manufacturing to improve functional performance

Yunlong Tang (Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.)
Yaoyao Fiona Zhao (Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 18 April 2016




This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of the state-of–the-art design methods for additive manufacturing (AM) technologies to improve functional performance.


In this survey, design methods for AM to improve functional performance are divided into two main groups. They are design methods for a specific objective and general design methods. Design methods in the first group primarily focus on the improvement of functional performance, while the second group also takes other important factors such as manufacturability and cost into consideration with a more general framework. Design methods in each groups are carefully reviewed with discussion and comparison.


The advantages and disadvantages of different design methods for AM are discussed in this paper. Some general issues of existing methods are summarized below: most existing design methods only focus on a single design scale with a single function; few product-level design methods are available for both products’ functionality and assembly; and some existing design methods are hard to implement for the lack of suitable computer-aided design software.

Practical implications

This study is a useful source for designers to select an appropriate design method to take full advantage of AM.


In this survey, a novel classification method is used to categorize existing design methods for AM. Based on this classification method, a comprehensive review is provided in this paper as an informative source for designers and researchers working in this field.



This paper is supported by National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant RGPIN 436055-2013, China Scholarship Council (201306020032)


Tang, Y. and Zhao, Y.F. (2016), "A survey of the design methods for additive manufacturing to improve functional performance", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 569-590.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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