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Conformal 3D Printing On Freeform Surfaces with a Robot Arm

Fused filament fabrication (FFF) techniques have been widely used to cheaply and quickly create parts. However, current FFF methods can only print on a flat plate due to the planar slicing method of most commercial 3D slicers. Nonplanar slicing overcomes this limitation by allowing filaments to be deposited according to the print surface. When used with robotic additive manufacturing, nonplanar slicing enables conformal 3D printing on almost any solid surface. In this project, I developed a workflow for conformal 3D printing with a 4-DOF robot arm on unknown freeform surfaces. In particular, I modified a nonplanar slicing algorithm developed in Slic3r to enable conformal 3D printing.

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