Flow-based Fabrication: An integrated computational workflow for design and digital additive manufacturing of multifunctional heterogeneously structured objects
2015 Duro-Royo, J., Mogas Soldevila, L., and Oxman, N., Computer-Aided Design Journal, Elsevier
Structural hierarchy and material organization in design is traditionally achieved by combining discrete homogeneous parts into functional assemblies where the shape or surface is the determining factor in achieving function. In contrast, biological structures express higher levels of functionality on a finer scale through volumetric cellular constructs that are heterogeneous and complex. Despite recent advancements in additive manufacturing of functionally graded materials, the limitations associated with computational design and digital fabrication of heterogeneous materials and structures frame and limit further progress. Conventional computer-aided design tools typically contain geometric and topologic data of virtual constructs, but lack robust means to integrate material composition properties within virtual models. We present a seamless computational workflow for the design and direct digital fabrication of multi- material and multi-scale structured objects. The workflow encodes for, and integrates domain-specific meta-data relating to local, regional and global feature resolution of heterogeneous material organizations. We focus on water-based materials and demonstrate our approach by additively manufacturing diverse constructs associating shape-informing variable flow rates and material properties to mesh-free geometric primitives. The proposed workflow enables virtual-to- physical control of structures where structural, mechanical and optical gradients are achieved through a seamless design-to-fabrication tool with localized control. An enabling technology combining a robotic arm and a multi-syringe multi nozzle deposition system is presented. Proposed methodology is implemented and full-scale demonstrations are included.