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Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a form of additive manufacture, is typically constrained to 2.5D, vertically stacked layers; curved layers have been shown to possess improved mechanical properties and surface finish but require complex toolpath generation. This paper demonstrates methods of generating thin-walled FDM components with curved layers suited for use within aerospace composite sandwich panels; secondary structures containing high complexity and low production volumes ripe for manufacture using additive techniques.
An industrial robot arm and a PC-based open-source controller allowed for significantly higher degrees of toolpath complexity for FDM than realised using conventional systems. Three use cases are presented to describe the manufacture of FDM components, with the first demonstrating deposition on a rotating cylinder, allowing for customised stiffening and reinforcement. The second shows a curved surface defined by an STL file, with the nozzle orientated to remain perpendicular to the surface, and finally the
manufacture of a shaped aerofoil cores with curved layers conforming to the outer surfaces. The application developed over the course of this work shows the high levels of manufacturing flexibility achievable with arm-based FDM, and its potential use within the aerospace industry where optimised and complex components are manufactured in low volumes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2018
Event18th European Conference on Composite Materials - ECCM18 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 24 Jun 201828 Jun 2018


Conference18th European Conference on Composite Materials - ECCM18


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