Topology optimization with accessibility constraint for multi-axis machining
In this paper, we present a topology optimization (TO) framework to enable automated design of mechanical components while ensuring the result can be manufactured using multi-axis machining. Although TO improves the part's performance, the as-designed model is often geometrically too complex to be machined and the as-manufactured model can significantly vary due to machining constraints that are not accounted for during TO. In other words, many of the optimized design features cannot be
... by a machine tool without colliding with the part (or fixtures). The subsequent post-processing to make the part machinable with the given setup requires trial-and-error without guarantees on preserving the optimized performance. Our proposed approach is based on the well-established accessibility analysis formulation using convolutions in configuration space that is extensively used in spatial planning and robotics. We define an 'inaccessibility measure field' (IMF) over the design domain to identify non-manufacturable features and quantify their contribution to non-manufacturability. The IMF is used to penalize the sensitivity field of performance objectives and constraints to prevent formation of inaccessible regions. Unlike existing discrete formulations, our IMF provides a continuous spatial field that is desirable for TO convergence. Our approach applies to arbitrary geometric complexity of the part, tools, and fixtures, and is highly parallelizable on multi-core architecture. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework on benchmark and realistic examples in 2D and 3D. We also show that it is possible to directly construct manufacturing plans for the optimized designs based on the accessibility information.