Exploring the impact of design tool usage on design for additive manufacturing processes and outcomes

Hannah D. Budinoff, Sara McMains, Sara Shonkwiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving designers' ability to identify manufacturing constraints during design can help reduce the time and cost involved in the development of new products. Different design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) tools exist, but the design outcomes produced using such tools are often evaluated without comparison to existing tools. This study addresses the research gap by directly comparing design performance using two design support tools: a worksheet listing DfAM principles and a manufacturability analysis software tool that analyzes compliance with the same principles. In a randomized-controlled study, 49 nonexpert designers completed a design task to improve the manufacturability of a 3D-printed part using either the software tool or the worksheet tool. In this study, design outcome data (creativity and manufacturability) and design process data (task load and time taken) were measured. We identified statistically significant differences in the number of manufacturability violations in the software and worksheet groups and the creativity of the designs with novel build orientations. Results demonstrated limitations associated with lists of principles and highlighted the potential of software in promoting creativity by encouraging the exploration of alternative build orientations. This study provides support for using software to help designers, particularly nonexpert designers who rely on trial and error during design, evaluate the manufacturability of their designs more effectively, thereby promoting concurrent engineering design practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1
JournalDesign Science
StatePublished - Jan 5 2024


  • Computer-aided design
  • Design for additive manufacturing
  • Design for manufacturing
  • Engineering design tools
  • Manufacturability analysis system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • General Engineering


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