Slice data representation and format for multi-material objects for additive manufacturing processes

Zhengyan Zhang, Sanjay Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose - This paper aims to develop a slice-based representation of geometry and material information of a multi-material object to be produced by additive manufacturing. Representation of complex heterogeneous material allowing for the additive manufacturing-based build of a wide range of objects that are limited only by the constraints of the manufacturing process. Design/methodology/approach - Initial 3D CAD models are created with multiple and functionally graded materials using an assembly model to create a single part with well-defined material regions. These models are then sliced to create the geometry and material boundaries required for each layer to enable layer-by-layer fabrication. Findings - A representation schema is proposed to add multi-material attributes to a sliced file for additive manufacturing using the combination of material index and material geometry region. A modified common layer interface data format is proposed to allow for representation of a wide range of homogeneous and heterogeneous material for each slice. This format allows for a generic input for tool paths to be generated for each material of the layer. Originality/value - The proposed approach allows for slice data representation for any material combination that can be defined mathematically. Three different material types, namely, composite material, functionally graded materials and combination thereof, are provided as examples. These data form the input data for subsequent tool path planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-161
Number of pages13
JournalRapid Prototyping Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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