This paper introduces a new tolerance-based method to generate the optimum layer setup required to build layered manufacturing (LM) end-user parts for maximized efficiency. To achieve this, the deviation between the final polished LM part geometry and the original design model are formulated and controlled. Maximized layer thicknesses are then realized through optimization of each layer position with respect to the design and final geometry and maximization of the allowable deviation for each layer, which consequently leads to minimization of the build time. Current LM layer setup methods do not take into account of the final part during layer setup generation, rendering layer thickness selection to operator-deemed-best. Without the ability to predict the final geometry and to optimize the layer setup accordingly, layer thickness selection is often overly conservative, causing more layers than necessary to be used. Since the LM build time increases exponentially with an increase in the number of layers, efficiency is greatly reduced with conservative layer setup. To achieve maximum efficiency, this paper proposes a new method based on error compensation and minimization to solve for the optimum layer setup necessary to allow the resulting final physical part to reliably approximate the design model geometry according to a user specified tolerance limit. Case studies have been performed in order to validate that the proposed method is able to minimize the number of layers for constructing an LM part while controlling the maximum error for tolerance conformance.

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