Additive manufacturing of heterogeneous lattice structures: an experimental exploration

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Leonardi, Francesco (1); Graziosi, Serena (1); Casati, Riccardo (1); Tamburrino, Francesco (2); Bordegoni, Monica (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: Politecnico di Milano
Section: Design for additive manufacturing
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


3D printed heterogeneous lattice structures are beam-and-node based structures characterised by a variable geometry. This variability is obtained starting from a periodic structure and modifying the relative density of the unit cells or by combining unit cells having different shapes. While several consolidated design approaches are described to implement the first approach, there are still computational issues to be addressed to combine different cells properly. In this paper, we describe a preliminary experimental study focused on exploring the design issues to be addressed as well as the advantages that this second type of heterogeneous structures could provide. The Three-Point-Bending test was used to compare the behaviour of different types of heterogeneous structures printed using the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. Results demonstrated that the possibility of combining multiple unit cells represents a valid strategy for performing a more effective tuning of the material distribution within the design space. However, further studies are necessary to explore the behaviour of these structures and develop guidelines for helping designers in exploiting their potential.

Keywords: Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), 3D printing, Lightweight design, Heterogeneous lattice structures


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