Improving the feel of 3D printed prototypes for new product development: A feasibility study of emulating mass properties by optimising infill structures and materials

Harry Felton*, Jason Yon, Ben Hicks

*Corresponding author for this work

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

Abstract

Product prototypes and particularly those that are 3D printed will have mass properties that are significantly different from the product they represent. This affects both functional performance and stakeholder perception of the prototype. Within this work, computational emulation of mass properties for a primitive object (a cube) is considered, developing a baseline numerical method and parameter set with the aim of demonstrating the means of improving feel in 3D printed prototypes. The method is then applied and tuned for three case study products – a games controller, a hand drill and a laser pointer – demonstrating that product mass properties could be numerically emulated to within ~1% of the target values. This was achieved using typical material extrusion technology with no physical or process modification. It was observed that emulation accuracy is dependent on the relative offset of the centre of mass from the geometric centre. A sensitivity analysis is further undertaken to demonstrate that product-specific parameters can be beneficial. With tuning of these values, and with some neglect of practical limitations, emulation accuracy as high as ~99.8% can be achieved. This was shown to be a reduction in error of up to 99.6% relative to a conventional fabrication.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19
JournalDesign Science
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023.

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