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Neural network-based build time estimation for additive manufacturing: a performance comparison



Yosep Oh, Michael Sharp, Timothy A. Sprock, Soonjo Kwon


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has brought positive opportunities with phenomenal changes to traditional manufacturing. Consistent efforts and novel studies into AM use have resolved critical issues in manufacturing and broadened technical boundaries. Build time estimation is one of the critical issues in AM which still needs attention. Accurate build time estimation is key for feasibility studies, preliminary design, and process/production planning. Recent studies have provided the possibility of neural network (NN)-based build time estimation. In particular, traditional artificial NN (ANN)- and convolutional NN (CNN)-based methods have been demonstrated. However, very little has been done on the performance comparison for build time estimation among the different types of NNs. This study is aimed at filling this gap by designing various NNs for build time estimation and comparing them. Two types of features are prepared as inputs for the NNs by processing 3D models: (1)representative features (RFs)including dimensions, part volume, and support volume; and (2) the set of voxels generated from designating the cells occupied by the work-piece in a mesh grid. With the combination of NN types and input feature types, we design three NNs: (1) ANN with RFs; (2) ANN with voxels; and (3) CNN with voxels. To obtain large enough label data for reliable training, we consider calculated build time from commercial slicing applications rather than actual build time. The build time is calculated by virtual 3D printers based on the material extrusion (ME)process. To address various cases for input models, two design factors (scale and rotation) are considered by controlling the size and build orientation of 3D models. In computational experiments, we reveal that the CNN-based estimation is often more accurate than others. Furthermore, the design factors affect the performance of build time estimation. In particular, the CNN-based estimation is strongly influenced by changing the size
Journal of Computational Design and Engineering


additive manufacturing, artificial neural network, 3D convolutional neural network, build time estimation, 3D printing


Oh, Y. , Sharp, M. , Sprock, T. and Kwon, S. (2021), Neural network-based build time estimation for additive manufacturing: a performance comparison, Journal of Computational Design and Engineering, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created August 19, 2021, Updated February 24, 2022