Some Slicing Issues in Rapid Prototyping

Some Slicing Issues in Rapid Prototyping

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Boppana V. Chowdary
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
The University of the West Indies
St Augustine Campus, Trinidad
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Divesh R. Sahatoo
In-Corr-Tech Ltd., San Fernando, Trinidad
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Rapid prototyping (RP) processes such as fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography (SL) are being widely used in the industry with great potential for direct digital manufacturing of functional parts. In the RP process, surface finish and build time are important and are affected due to improper selection of slice thickness. It is evident that there is a strong relation between the slicing and tessellation process for which more scientific efforts are necessary to develop methods for creating more efficient STL files. The aim of this study is to show the effect of slicing on the surface finish, layering error and build time of a prototype. Furthermore, this study shows how tolerance and slice thickness are related in creating more efficient STL files. In this regard, three objects were modeled for generation of STL files. Each object’s STL file was sliced with different slice thickness values. Screenshots approach was used to show the slicing effect on layering error. The build times were calculated and documented. The study results show that slice thickness has a great impact on several factors. The results will serve the industry in understanding how the utilization of various resources.

Keywords: Rapid Prototyping, STL, Tolerance, Tessellation, Surface Finish, Triangular Facet, Slicing, Slice Thickness, Layering Error, Build Time


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