Automatic generation of alternative build orientations for laser powder bed fusion based on facet clustering

Yuchu Qin, Qunfen Qi*, Peizhi Shi, Paul J. Scott, Xiangqian Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a novel facet clustering based method is proposed to generate alternative build orientations for laser powder bed fusion. This method consists of two steps. First, a hierarchical clustering algorithm is applied to divide facets of the design model in standard tessellation language format into different clusters, each of which shares a similar normal vector. Second, alternatives of each cluster are computed and the final set of alternative build orientations is generated by combining and refining the alternatives from all clusters. To illustrate and validate the method, a set of examples including both regular and freeform surface models are tested, and qualitative and quantitative comparisons between the method and the existing methods are reported. The results suggest that the proposed method is feasible and effective for both regular and freeform surface parts. It is evident that the proposed method can output stable results, provide satisfying efficiency, and work well with facet clusters of varying probability density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-324
Number of pages18
JournalVirtual and Physical Prototyping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are very grateful to the six anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments for the improvement of the paper. The authors are also very grateful to Dr. Yicha Zhang at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Design, University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard, France for providing the STL files of Parts 4 and 5.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • alternative build orientation
  • build orientation determination
  • facet clustering
  • Laser powder bed fusion
  • process planning for additive manufacturing


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