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Maximizing design potential: investigating the effects of utilizing opportunistic and restrictive design for additive manufacturing in rapid response solutions

Rohan Prabhu (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jordan Scott Masia (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Joseph T. Berthel (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Nicholas Alexander Meisel (School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Timothy W. Simpson (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA and Department of Industrial Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 16 June 2021

Issue publication date: 15 July 2021

175

Abstract

Purpose

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous innovative engineering design solutions, several of which leverage the rapid prototyping and manufacturing capabilities of additive manufacturing. This paper aims to study a subset of these solutions for their utilization of design for AM (DfAM) techniques and investigate the effects of DfAM utilization on the creativity and manufacturing efficiency of these solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

This study compiled 26 COVID-19-related solutions designed for AM spanning three categories: (1) face shields (N = 6), (2) face masks (N = 12) and (3) hands-free door openers (N = 8). These solutions were assessed for (1) DfAM utilization, (2) manufacturing efficiency and (3) creativity. The relationships between these assessments were then computed using generalized linear models to investigate the influence of DfAM utilization on manufacturing efficiency and creativity.

Findings

It is observed that (1) unique and original designs scored lower in their AM suitability, (2) solutions with higher complexity scored higher on usefulness and overall creativity and (3) solutions with higher complexity had higher build cost, build time and material usage. These findings highlight the need to account for both opportunistic and restrictive DfAM when evaluating solutions designed for AM. Balancing the two DfAM perspectives can support the development of solutions that are creative and consume fewer build resources.

Originality/value

DfAM evaluation tools primarily focus on AM limitations to help designers avoid build failures. This paper proposes the need to assess designs for both, their opportunistic and restrictive DfAM utilization to appropriately assess the manufacturing efficiency of designs and to realize the creative potential of adopting AM.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Joseph Goodpaster for his help in evaluating the ideas. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewer(s) for their valuable and thoughtful recommendations toward improving the quality of the paper.

Funding. This research was sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation Grant No. CMMI-1712234. Any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Disclosure of Interest. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Citation

Prabhu, R., Masia, J.S., Berthel, J.T., Meisel, N.A. and Simpson, T.W. (2021), "Maximizing design potential: investigating the effects of utilizing opportunistic and restrictive design for additive manufacturing in rapid response solutions", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 1161-1171. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-11-2020-0297

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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