3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) have historically been used for rapid prototyping. This was, and still is a great application of the technology. Instead of making custom molds and tooling to manufacture prototypes, product development organizations can now simply create a CAD model and use AM to rapidly product a prototype. Not only does this save massive amounts of time, it also creates immense cost savings. In recent years the usage of additive manufacturing is now being used to manufacture production ready parts and products. Companies see the benefits of this manufacturing technique and are investing heavily. Organizations using additive manufacturing range from medical, to aerospace, and even consumer products.
Design for the freedom of additive manufacturing
So what is topology optimization, and how does it factor into the additive manufacturing process? Topology optimization is a mathematical method that generates a material layout within a given design space based on a set of loading conditions provided by a designer. Essentially, given the loads that a part or product will incur during usage, topology optimization software visually shows where non-vital material can be removed.
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