Abstract

An Internet-based infrastructure is being developed in order to provide designers with access to multiple layered-manufacturing services. The design domain being addressed is that of small mechanisms or electro-mechanical assemblies that would be used in robots or other mechatronic devices. The approach presented relies on the formalization of the data exchange interface between designers and manufacturers. The primary operatives in this system are Design Clients, Manufacturing Services and Process Brokers. The Design Client allows designers to submit completed designs for algorithmic decomposition, or alternately, to compose a design from primitives and library components that have been primed with some process-related information. During this early phase, the Manufacturing Service consists of a highly automated machine that can be used to build ceramic parts, and the associated software components for design decomposition, process planning and machine control. In later phases, multiple service providers will be made accessible. The Process Broker implements a number of supporting services including process selection and optimal part orientation. Future broker services will include manufacturability analysis, directory services and accreditation etc. Currently, this interface is being built and evaluated internally at Stanford and CMU. It will be made available for use by other selected universities in the near future.

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