Development of Material Extrusion systems for 3D printing and their increase in accessibility has been instrumental in the rapid growth of individuals with hands-on experience in additive manufacturing. Fabricating parts using Material Extrusion has progressed from being a novel and expensive ordeal to a cheap, easy, and relatively fast method. However, this necessitates that the user understands the circumstances under which 3D printing is appropriate for a given part. This paper introduces software algorithms and an “App” to help users gauge the feasibility of fabricating parts using material extrusion. The algorithm uses novel voxel-based manufacturability analyses, which takes the desired STL file as input and generates a voxelized model with supports. The software estimates build time, weight of material required for the part and supports, and the cost of 3D printing based on specified machine parameters, allowing users to make an informed decision on process selection. The visuals generated by the algorithm also allow the user to determine the appropriate build orientation. The algorithm’s predictions are compared to experimental results for validation, with the final version of the code serving as the backbone for a mobile “App” built for rapid visual evaluation of parts in terms of orientation, build time, and cost of printing. Ongoing and future work is also discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.