Voxel-based Fabrication through Material Property Mapping: a Design Method for Bitmap Printing

2014  E.L. Doubrovski, E.Y. Tsai, D. Dikovsky, J.M.P. Geraedts, H. Herr, and N.Oxman, Computer-Aided Design, Elsevier (in print)


We present a novel method and digital workflow using multi-material Additive Manufacturing (AM). In contrast to traditional workflows, here material composition on a voxel resolution is defined and used to fabricate a design object with locally varying material stiffness, aiming to satisfy the design objective. In this workflow the voxel resolution is set by the printer’s native resolution, eliminating the need for slicing and path planning. Controlling geometry and material property variation at the resolution of the printer provides significantly greater control over structure-property-function relationships. To demonstrate the utility of the bitmap printing approach we apply it to the design of a customized prosthetic socket. Pressure-sensing elements are concurrently fabricated with the socket, providing possibilities for evaluation of the socket’s fit. The level of control demonstrated in this study cannot be achieved using traditional CAD tools and volume-based AM workflows, implying that new CAD workflows must be developed in order to enable designers to harvest the capabilities of AM.

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