Enhancing awareness of additive and subtractive manufacturability with virtualized voxel-based simulations

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Lynn, David Roby
Kurfess, Thomas R.
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Manufacturing challenges are often introduced during the design process, and designers must be capable of designing components in such a way to minimize these challenges. Frequently, mechanical engineering students are too inexperienced to consider the limitations that manufacturing processes impose upon design, and they often design parts that are either difficult or impossible to manufacture. Students must be competent in design-for-manufacturability to be able to design parts that are readily realizable. Students often turn to additive manufacturing processes when they need to make a part for any application, which is not always the best choice. The goal of this work is to develop a framework to rapidly provide students with the knowledge they need to fluidly move between mindsets for additive and subtractive manufacturing processes. This thesis presents the design, implementation and analysis of a system for educating undergraduate students about manufacturability considerations; groups of students were given training in a software package that provides visualizations of the turning process and trained on the operation of CNC machine tools. Knowledge assessments were given to the students to measure their understanding of a variety of topics in manufacturability. A control group, who also completed the knowledge assessments, was not provided with access to the visualization software and only completed manual machining training. Analysis of the survey results indicates that student understanding of geometrical limitations in turning can be dramatically improved by employing such visualizations; however, students’ choice of a manufacturing process for a given part was mostly unaffected.
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