THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE FULLY DENSE FREEFORM FABRICATION (FDFF) PROCESS BY DESIGNING THE ANGULAR ADAPTIVE SLICING ALGORITHM AND DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS
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Fully dense freeform fabrication (FDFF) is a process based on thin line cutting processes, variable thickness layering, slicing in different orientations, and bulk layer attachment. The combination of these capabilities enables the production of good quality complex parts from practically any material at a very fast pace. To reduce the prototyping time and improve the quality of the fabricated functioning products, multiple design and operational factors affecting the response value (FDFF process performance) is required to be addressed and subsequently optimized in the favor of the enhancement of process quality. In this research, firstly in order to decrease the process time the adaptive slicing technique with automatic spreading the generated two-dimensional (2D) slices on the predefined sheets in various thicknesses for the FDFF process are explained. Following the adaptive slicing, a curved-form adaptive slicing method is presented. In this method, multiple cuttings of the edge boundary of each adaptive layer with variable cutting vectors angles fairly form near to the CAD model curved surfaces. The proposed system is compatible with the 5-axis waterjet machines. Secondly, affecting factors (e.g., types of bonding materials, a range of heating temperatures, types of metal sheets, etc) on the quality of the fabricated prototypes are investigated using statistic designed experiment. In the improved FDFF process, three-dimensional (3D) solid CAD models with any kind of geometry complexity are designed and adaptively sliced in Autodesk Inventor. To cut angularly the profiles, CNC G-codes are automatically generated which are perfectly matched with 5-axis Waterjet machining requirements.