Rethinking KISS Principle

Additive manufacturing is challenging what designers and engineers know about the KISS principle ("Keep it simple, stupid"). Today, professionals are encouraged to embrace complexity in design and focus how a product should function rather than how it’s made, allowing companies to drive greater innovation and push the limits of manufacturing. Our most recent video release shows how design and manufacturing perspectives are shifting, and we talked to some of FATHOM’s staff about how their roles are changing as additive manufacturing becomes more widespread throughout the supply chain.

How //

How is additive manufacturing changing the core principles of product design? How is additive manufacturing affecting the methodology of production?

“Working with AM has forced me to reevaluate many of the design principles that I’ve learned over the years—to look at them critically, and to realize that many of them have become outdated. Many design elements which would traditionally add time, and thus cost, to the manufacture of a part, have absolutely zero penalty using additive.” —Alexei Samimi, FATHOM Mechanical Engineer

“90+ percent of the parts we make are designed/optimized for conventional manufacturing. If you start with an engineering project with the assumption 'we’re going to make this part using additive,' you end up at a wildly divergent outcome. 3D printing is to manufacturing what the internet and free compilers were to software development.” —Carlo Quiñonez, FATHOM Director of Research

“Additive manufacturing allows designers access to complexity at a very low cost. We have helped customers with redesigning for light weighting parts or combining multiple complex part assemblies into more simplified and unified single parts.” —Dylan Oliver, FATHOM Seattle General Manager

What //

What are some ways to use in-house 3D printers or out-sourced 3D printing services to increase the complexity of the products? What are a few advantages to increasingly complex individual parts?

“Additive advantages often come into play by combining multiple complex parts into one more simple unified part. Traditional manufacturing has constraints that additive technologies do not need to conform to. By redesigning parts for additive, you can exploit complexity for its benefits, or reduce complexity to save weight and assembly time. Each is valuable in the right situation.” —Dylan Oliver, FATHOM Seattle General Manager

“In some ways, AM also allows parts and assemblies to be more simple—by reducing the total number of parts through more complex geometry. I do see designers learning to use these tools wisely—to replace several simple parts in an assembly with one complex unified part. The act of creating a more efficient and robust design by increasing complexity may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not.” —Alexei Samimi, FATHOM Mechanical Engineer

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