Investigating the Role of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing in Additive Manufacturing
Gaurav Ameta, Paul W. Witherell, Robert R. Lipman, Shawn P. Moylan
Additive manufacturing (AM) has increasingly gained attention in the last decade as a versatile manufacturing process for customized products. AM processes can create complex, freeform shapes while also introducing features, such as internal cavities and lattices. These complex geometries are either not feasible or very costly with traditional manufacturing processes. The geometric freedoms associated with AM create new challenges in maintaining and communicating dimensional and geometric accuracy of parts produced. This paper reviews the implications of AM processes on current geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) practices, including specification standards, such as ASME Y14.5 and ISO 1101, and discusses challenges and possible solutions that lie ahead. Various issues highlighted in this paper are classified as (a) AM-driven specification issues and (b) specification issues highlighted by the capabilities of AM processes. AM-driven specification issues may include build direction, layer thickness, support structure related specification, and scan/track direction. Specification issues highlighted by the capabilities of AM processes may include region-based tolerances for complex freeform surfaces, tolerancing internal functional features, and tolerancing lattice and infills. We introduce methods to address these potential specification issues. Finally, we summarize potential impacts to upstream and downstream tolerancing steps, including tolerance analysis, tolerance transfer, and tolerance evaluation.
Journal of Mechanical Design-Transactions of the ASME