Semi-supervised deep learning based framework for assessing manufacturability of cellular structures in direct metal laser sintering process

Abstract

In recent years, metal cellular structures have drawn attentions in various industrial sectors due to their design freedoms and abilities to achieve multi-functional mechanical properties. However, metal cellular structures are difficult to fabricate due to their complex geometries, even with modern additive manufacturing technologies such as the direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process. Assessing the manufacturability of metal cellular structures via a DMLS process is a challenging task as the geometric features of the structures are complex. Besides, via a DMLS process, the manufacturability also depends on the cumulative deformation of the layers during the manufacturing process. Existing methods on Design for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM) provide design guidelines that are based on past successful printed designs. However, they are not effective in predicting the manufacturability of metal cellular structures. In this paper, we propose a semi-supervised deep learning based manufacturability assessment (SSDLMA) framework to assess whether a metal cellular structure can be successfully manufactured from a given DMLS process. To enable efficient learning, we represent the complex cellular structures as 3D binary arrays with a simple yet efficient voxelisation method. We then train a deep learning based classifier using only a small amount of experimental data by adopting a semi-supervised learning approach. By running real experiments and comparing with existing DFAM methods and machine learning models, we demonstrate the advantages of the proposed SSDLMA framework. The proposed framework can be extended to predict the manufacturability of various other complex geometries beyond cellular structure in a reliable way even with a small number of training data.

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Acknowledgements

The research is partially supported by National University of Singapore Centre for Additive Manufacturing.

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Correspondence to Wen Feng Lu.

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Guo, Y., Lu, W.F. & Fuh, J.Y.H. Semi-supervised deep learning based framework for assessing manufacturability of cellular structures in direct metal laser sintering process. J Intell Manuf 32, 347–359 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10845-020-01575-0

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Keywords

  • Manufacturability analysis
  • Cellular structures
  • Design for additive manufacturing
  • Semi-supervised deep learning
  • Direct metal laser sintering