Special Issue paper

Designing for Additive Manufacturing: Lightweighting Through Topology Optimization Enables Lunar Spacecraft

[+] Author and Article Information
Melissa E. Orme

Morf3D, Inc.,
821 N Nash Street,
El Segundo, CA 90245
e-mail: Melissa@morf3d.com

Michael Gschweitl

Ruag Space,
Zürich 8052, Switzerland
e-mail: michael.gschweitl@ruag.com

Michael Ferrari

Ruag Space,
Zürich 8052, Switzerland
e-mail: michael.ferrari@ruag.com

Ivan Madera

Morf3D, Inc.,
821 N Nash Street,
El Segundo, CA 90245
e-mail: ivan@morf3d.com

Franck Mouriaux

Ruag Space,
Zürich 8052, Switzerland
e-mail: franck.mouriaux@ruag.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design for Manufacturing Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received February 10, 2017; final manuscript received July 10, 2017; published online August 30, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Carolyn Seepersad.

J. Mech. Des 139(10), 100905 (Aug 30, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1121; doi: 10.1115/1.4037304 History: Received February 10, 2017; Revised July 10, 2017

An end-to-end development approach for space flight qualified additive manufacturing (AM) components is presented and demonstrated with a case study consisting of a system of five large, light-weight, topologically optimized components that serve as an engine mount in SpaceIL's GLPX lunar landing craft that will participate in the Google Lunar XPrize challenge. The development approach includes a preliminary design exploration intended to save numerical effort in order to allow efficient adoption of topology optimization and additive manufacturing in industry. The approach also addresses additive manufacturing constraints, which are not included in the topology optimization algorithm, such as build orientation, overhangs, and the minimization of support structures in the design phase. Additive manufacturing is carried out on the topologically optimized designs with powder bed laser technology and rigorous testing, verification, and validation exercises complete the development process.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
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Fig. 3

Preliminary exploration of design solutions within the design space (top image): ISO view, (bottom image): side view

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Fig. 2

LEROS engine support structure design baseline

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Fig. 1

Holistic process flow for additive manufacturing of high-quality, reliable metallic components

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Fig. 4

Identification of design tendencies encountered during exploratory topology optimization analysis; top image, top view of assembly; bottom image, side view of assembly

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Fig. 5

Top image, top view of a topology optimized concept within the adapted design space (gray shaded region); bottom image, ISO view of topology results within the adapted design space (gray region)

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Fig. 6

Final design space based on the evaluated concept to split the structure in order to allow printing in EOS M290. Individual design volumes of legs and hub connected at determined locations of the split.

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Fig. 9

Realization of connections: RBE–BUSH–BAR (6×)

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Fig. 12

Photograph depicting three build plates with the entire LEROS engine mount assembly components and their respective in-process coupons

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Fig. 7

Rendering of the complete assembly of four identical legs and one hub that are joined by close tolerance shear bolts

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Fig. 8

Separate components: top, hub; bottom, one of four identical legs

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Fig. 13

Photograph illustrating assembled components with a mock-up of the LEROS Apogee engine

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Fig. 10

Results of the FEM analysis: stress plot of the complete engine mount structure subjected to (x/y) excitation

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Fig. 11

Results of the FEM analysis: stress plot of the complete engine mount structure subjected to Z excitation



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