Adjusting Surface Models of Cellular Structures for Making Physical Models Using FDM Technology

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Feb 27;15(5):1198. doi: 10.3390/polym15051198.


In the planning stage of the fabrication process of physical models of cellular structures, a surface model of the structure needs to be adjusted to acquire the requisite properties, but errors emerge frequently at this stage. The main objective of this research was to repair or reduce the impact of deficiencies and errors before the fabrication of physical models. For this purpose, it was necessary to design models of cellular structures with different accuracy settings in PTC Creo and then compare them after the tessellation process using GOM Inspect. Subsequently, it was necessary to locate the errors occurring in the process of preparing models of cellular structures and propose an appropriate method of their repair. It was found that the Medium Accuracy setting is adequate for the fabrication of physical models of cellular structures. Subsequently, it was found that within regions where mesh models merged, duplicate surfaces emerged, and the entire model could be considered as manifesting non-manifold geometry. The manufacturability check showed that in the regions with duplicate surfaces inside the model, the toolpath creation strategy changed, causing local anisotropy within 40% of the fabricated model. A non-manifold mesh was repaired in the proposed manner of correction. A method of smoothing the model's surface was proposed, reducing the polygon mesh density and the file size. The findings and proposed methods of designing cellular models, error repair and smoothing methods of the models can be used to fabricate higher-quality physical models of cellular structures.

Keywords: FDM; additive manufacturing; cellular structure; lattice structure; mesh error; mesh repair; polygon mesh; polygonization.