While additive manufacturing allows more complex shapes than conventional manufacturing processes, there is a clear benefit in leveraging both new and old processes in the definition of new parts. For example, one could create complex part shapes where the main “body” is defined by extrusion and machining, while small protruding features are defined by additive manufacturing. This paper looks at how optimization and geometric reasoning can be combined to identify optimal separation planes within a complex three-dimensional shapes. These separations indicate the joining processes in reverse. The optimization method presents possible manufacturing alternatives to an engineering designer where optimality is defined as a minimization of cost. The process identifies the cutting planes as well as the combination of processes required to join the individual parts together. The paper presents several examples of complex shapes and describes how the optimization finds the optimal results.

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