Optimal toolpath design of additive manufactured composite cylindrical structures

Felipe Fernandez, James P. Lewicki, Daniel A. Tortorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Structural design optimization for additive manufacturing is primarily focused on planar layer-by-layer processes and design of composite cylindrical structures does not often accommodate manufacturing constraints. In this study, we propose to optimize the toolpath trajectory of additively manufactured composite cylinders comprised of multiple thin cylindrical annuli. Our printing process is based on direct ink writing in which short carbon fibers in a thermoset resin are extruded through a moving nozzle to build up a structure. Since the fibers are primarily aligned in the flow direction of the extrudate, the printing trajectory influences the material properties of the composite structure. To accommodate this, we define the toolpaths as contours of parameterized level-set functions. This parameterization allows us to optimize the material properties and impose manufacturing constraints such as no-overlap, no-sag, minimum radius of curvature, and continuity of the toolpaths. Several examples illustrate the optimization procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113673
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Cylinders
  • Manufacturing constraints
  • Nonplanar
  • Structural composites
  • Toolpath optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications


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