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Technological Application of Rapid Prototyping Furniture

Technological Application of Rapid Prototyping Furniture

Process Classification of Rapid Prototyping

According to the different forming principles and materials, the rapid prototyping technology currently used in furniture design and manufacturing can be divided into the following four types:

Fused Deposition Molding Technology

Fused Deposition Molding (FDM) Technology is to melt filamentous thermoplastic material at a specific temperature so that the material remains liquid and is extruded uniformly through the extrusion head. Under the control of forming data, selective deposition is carried out on the working platform, which is cooled and solidified immediately after deposition.

Stereo Lithography Apparatus

Stereo Lithography Apparatus (SLA) process utilizes the material properties of photosensitive resins, i.e. the phase transition from liquid to solid state can be achieved under the irradiation of a certain wavelength and intensity of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet beam trajectory is controlled by forming data, and selective scanning is carried out on the surface of photosensitive resin to realize point-by-point curing.

3D printing process

The principle of 3D printing (3DP) technology is the bonding of powder materials under the action of adhesives. A layer of powder material is first laid on the working platform, and then the binder is distributed in the powder area which needs to be formed by using the nozzle, thus realizing the powder bonding type.

Selective Laser Sintering Process

The principle of selective laser sintering (SLS) is the melting and bonding of powder materials under laser sintering. A layer of powder material close to the melting point is first laid on the working platform, and then it is selectively scanned by laser on the powder layer. The powder temperature in the scanned area rises and sintered after melting.

Selection of Manufacturing Technology of Classical Furniture Model

Technological requirements

Chinese classical furniture model needs to present the shape of classical furniture, and has a large number of curved surface or special-shaped components. Therefore, the production of the model for the overall shape of the presentation should be accurate. At the same time, the surface of the model should be as smooth as possible, reflecting the aesthetic feeling of the manufacturing process.

The display of Chinese classical furniture model is not only "beauty of form", but also "beauty of structure". As the essence of Chinese classical furniture, tenon-mortise structure needs to be specially displayed, and the model design requires a disassembly form with tenon-mortise structure. Removable tenon-mortise structures require higher mechanical properties of components.

Contrast of Four Rapid Prototyping Technologies

According to the manufacturing process requirements of Chinese classical furniture model, four main rapid prototyping processes were tested, and the suitable rapid prototyping process for this model was preliminarily screened.

The backplane of the Ming-style ring chair model is selected as the test sample. Through the trial-manufacture of the backboard, five factors are compared, including the production effect, the production time, the production cost, the surface quality and the mechanical properties. The comparison results are shown in the following figure.

Contrastive elements





Production effect

Production time

30 min

20 min

40 min


Production cost

3 yuan/g

0.5 yuan/g

2 yuan/g

3 yuan/g

Production quality





Mechanical properties





During the observation, it was found that the surface of SLA process was smooth, the surface of FDM process had step effect, the surface of 3D P process had granular feeling, and the surface of SLS process had layered feeling.

In the process of hand-breaking, it was found that the specimens made by the 3DP process were broken with gentle force, and there were powder debris. With the increase of strength, the specimens made by SLA and SLS process have fracture one after another, while those made by FDM process are the most difficult to break. Therefore, FDM rapid prototyping technology is the best in mechanical performance. Furthermore, the mechanical properties of the specimens manufactured by FDM process are also better after the subsequent tensile test analysis.

Furniture Models Made by Fused Deposition Molding Process (FDM)

Through screening, FDM technology was selected to make Chinese classical furniture model. The model is made using Stratasys Fotus 450 Rapid Prototyping Machine. The selected model is the Ming Ring Chair Model. The manufacturing process is as follows:

UG software was used to build the model of the Ming-style ring chair, and the model was built by surveying and mapping and referring to the two-dimensional dimension map. There are 32 parts in the model. Each part is built separately and assembled by assembly module. The connection mode between parts and parts is tenon-mortise combination. The overall effect and burst diagram of the open-style ring chair model are shown in the figure.

The STL file of the ring chair model is imported into Fotus 450 rapid prototyping equipment, and the size of the model is set. In this production process, the ratio of the model and the object of the Ming-style ring chair is set to 1:9, under which the size of the model is proper.

Set the parameters of Fotus 450 rapid prototyping equipment, set the thickness of processing layer to 0.1 mm, material extrusion speed to 50 mm/min, and other parameters are generally set by default by the system.

After the parameter setting is completed, the rapid prototyping control software automatically slices, generates machine code, and starts the processing process.

After the model is processed, the post-processing technology is carried out. The first step of the post-treatment process is to remove the supporting materials and peel them manually. The burrs and grooves generated during the support stripping process are removed by grinding and polishing. The main tools used are sandpaper, yarn cloth, cashmere wheel, etc. After the follow-up treatment, the production of classical furniture model is completed.

Thanks to the development of advanced manufacturing technology, producing Chinese classical furniture model by rapid prototyping technology can not only improve production efficiency and reduce production costs, but also realize the integration of science and technology and culture, and condense profound and rich connotations. It has high market promotion value, and it promotes the spread of culture.

We look forward to the future of furniture production. Rapid prototyping technology can realize industrial production as soon as possible.

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