Integrated component-support topology optimization for additive manufacturing with post-machining

Matthijs Langelaar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to communicate a method to perform simultaneous topology optimization of component and support structures considering typical metal additive manufacturing (AM) restrictions and post-print machining requirements. Design/methodology/approach: An integrated topology optimization is proposed using two density fields: one describing the design and another defining the support layout. Using a simplified AM process model, critical overhang angle restrictions are imposed on the design. Through additional load cases and constraints, sufficient stiffness against subtractive machining loads is enforced. In addition, a way to handle non-design regions in an AM setting is introduced. Findings: The proposed approach is found to be effective in producing printable optimized geometries with adequate stiffness against machining loads. It is shown that post-machining requirements can affect optimal support structure layout. Research limitations/implications: This study uses a simplified AM process model based on geometrical characteristics. A challenge remains to integrate more detailed physical AM process models to have direct control of stress, distortion and overheating. Practical implications: The presented method can accelerate and enhance the design of high performance parts for AM. The consideration of post-print aspects is expected to reduce the need for design adjustments after optimization. Originality/value: The developed method is the first to combine AM printability and machining loads in a single topology optimization process. The formulation is general and can be applied to a wide range of performance and manufacturability requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-265
JournalRapid Prototyping Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Design
  • Design for manufacturing
  • Optimization
  • Overhang
  • Post-machining
  • Rapid manufacturing
  • Subtractive machining
  • Support structures
  • Topology optimization


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