Development of a Process Planning Module for Metal Additive Manufacturing

Open Access
Chernow, Eric William
Graduate Program:
Industrial Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Dr Sanjay Joshi, Thesis Advisor
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Process Planning
  • Laser Engineered Net Shaping
  • Industrial Engineering
Producing metallic parts using Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS™) additive manufacturing allows for a wide range of flexibility and customization while reducing waste material compared to traditional manufacturing methods. One of the important aspects of additive manufacturing is process planning, and there are many decisions that must be made in order to convert a CAD representation of a desired component into a finished part. These include determining the build orientation, generating support structures for necessary areas, slicing the model into layers, and creating the toolpath that the machine will follow for each layer. The interdependence of these tasks is complex, and traditional methods that only consider individual parameters can yield an inferior end result. This thesis develops a process planning module to select an optimal parameter set for the construction of a part using additive manufacturing. A framework is created to determine the settings that are of interest to a designer for metal additive manufacturing. A series of steps are outlined to reduce build time and cost while ensuring high quality components. Commercial software packages are examined for compatibility and usability in the process planning framework. The current procedures used by companies to determine parameter values are assessed, and a new three-stage approach is developed and validated. This approach involves the identification of important parameters to the construction of the part, the creation of a test design to examine the relationship between these settings, and the analysis of multiple parameters simultaneously to determine optimal values. The objectives of the process planning module are established, and the inputs and outputs are defined to allow for interaction between other design modules and to ensure success in the creation of a part using metal additive manufacturing.