Freeform Mechanical Design

Project Members: Jonathan Hiller

Summary

With the emerging capabilities of multi-material, freeform 3D printing, an exponentially increasing mechanical design space is available to engineers. Materials with a wide range of mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical properties will soon be printed seamlessly together in full3D. Traditional CAD programs are inadequate to efficiently utilize this vast design potential. In this research, we develop a genetic algorithm to design freeform (smooth, unconstrained) shapes consisting of multiple materials (arranged arbitrarily) to meet high level functional goals. This includes something as simple as designing the stiffest, lightest brace for given loading and constraints, or something as complex as an integrated electromechanical device like a locomoting robot.

Evolved Freeform Table: Autonomously designed to meet high-level goals

Evolved Freeform Table: Autonomously designed to meet high-level goals

Three material Composite Beam: Blue is stiff, Red is flexible, Yellow is lightweight

Three material Composite Beam: Blue is stiff, Red is flexible, Yellow is lightweight

Deflected Shape: Desired shape of deflected beam was a slope discontinuity in the middle

Deflected Shape: Desired shape of deflected beam was a slope discontinuity in the middle

Publications

Hiller, J., Lipson, H., (2009) "Multi Material Topological Optimization of Structures and Mechanism", Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO'09)