Parametric studies and manufacturability experiments on smooth self-supporting topologies

Yun-Fei Fu, Bernard Rolfe, Louis N.S. Chiu, Yanan Wang, Xiaodong Huang, Kazem Ghabraie

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to explore the effects of optimisation parameters (the filter radius, mesh size, and target volume fraction) on the compliance and manufacturability of smooth self-supporting topologies for additive manufacturing (AM); and conduct manufacturability experiments of selected simulation results with the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology. In this study, smooth self-supporting topologies are obtained with a combined method of the Solid Isotropic Microstructure with Penalization method (SIMP) with the smooth boundary representation and Langelaar's AM filter. Numerical examples illustrate that a higher filter radius can lead to simpler smooth self-supporting topologies, but curved top corners that violate the critical overhang angle of 45° are inevitably generated. Additionally, the mesh size is found to be not as an important factor as the filter radius in affecting the manufacturability and performance. As a result of the self-supporting constraint, a small volume fraction can easily result in structural discontinuity. The experimental results demonstrate that the self-supporting topologies obtained are all printable in SLM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalVirtual and Physical Prototyping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • elemental volume fractions
  • selective laser melting (SLM)
  • smooth self-supporting design
  • solid isotropic microstructure with penalisation method (SIMP)

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