Industrial Case Studies of Design for Plastic Additive Manufacturing for End-use Consumer Products

Wei Liu*, Songhe Ye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Additive manufacturing (AM) is gaining increasing interests in modern industries, with its unparalleled capability for direct manufacture of high-value geometrically complex products. With continued technology advancements, plastic AM enables consumer goods to be economically produced in a low to medium production scale. Due to unique AM process characteristics, current design methods that are established based on traditional manufacturing processes are unable to effectively capitalize AM advantages. The traditional designer's mind-set in product design needs changing, which requires new design methods and guidance to be established. However, the majority of the design rules for AM developed so far is primarily on "feature-level," namely, they can only ensure the manufacturability of the designed features in the final design stage. This fails to guide designers throughout the entire design process to exploit full potentials of AM processes. Therefore, this study proposes a design for AM (DfAM) framework to guide industrial/product designers to create an effective design for end-use plastic consumer products for series production. The framework is developed based on a practically proven design practice that is obtained from a series of interviews with professional designers and practitioners with significant experience in DfAM. It summarizes the DfAM principles and addresses major considerations in process selection, design process, and production. This article focuses on illustrating the framework using two detailed case studies showing the real design process for designing two products that are currently being sold on the market. The DfAM principles and considerations in manufacturing process selection, design, and production stages are presented, together with the advantages and disadvantages of the products being designed for AM. It demonstrates the importance of DfAM principles for creating a successful product design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
Journal3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Issue number6
Early online date2 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019


  • additive manufacturing
  • design for additive manufacturing
  • design method
  • plastic consumer goods
  • product design
  • product innovation


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