Optimized Subtractive Manufacturing - Right Parts, Right Time, Every Time

Navy SBIR 20.2 - Topic N202-117

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) - Ms. Donna Attick [email protected]

Opens: June 3, 2020 - Closes: July 2, 2020 (12:00 pm ET)



N202-117       TITLE: Optimized Subtractive Manufacturing - Right Parts, Right Time, Every Time


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Ground Sea, Weapons


OBJECTIVE: Develop the ability to produce optimized (strength/stiffness/weight) part geometry, using lathes and milling machines as constraints, to feed Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software for machining centers.


DESCRIPTION: Currently, optimization software develops a mesh-based output for optimized parts. The user inputs the various parameters (required strength, stiffness, or weight) and the optimization code calculates the topology to meet the user requirements. This mesh-based output is not generally in a format directly usable to create a part by either additive manufacturing or subtractive manufacturing. For additive manufacturing, a second software suite is needed to process the mesh-based output into usable format to produce the part. The mesh-based output is unusable for subtractive manufacturing without significant engineering input.�


Additively manufactured components have an advantage of being able to be created in complex shapes, which are unable to be made using subtractive methods. However, the use of multi-axis numerical control subtractive manufacturing machines allows similarly complex shapes to be created. The issue for subtractive based manufacturing centers around tool-path and access (e.g., can the tool get into a space and move in the same space).


The disadvantage of additive manufacturing is that both the process and material must be qualified and tested together in order to provide sufficient properties to be evaluated for airworthiness. Unlike additive manufacturing, components manufactured by subtractive manufacturing can be evaluated for airworthiness quickly by analysis. Analysis of subtractive manufactured components requires material properties from the manufacturer and part geometry in order to be evaluated for airworthiness.


This SBIR topic seeks to combine the strengths of material qualification associated with subtractive manufacturing and the benefits of optimization software to provide the best possible parts in the least amount of time. To accomplish these goals, the Navy seeks the development of a software package that performs optimization for strength, stiffness, and weight as goals while using machinability as a constraint. The output from the Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the form of a common platform independent file type (e.g., Parasolid, Standard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP), Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES), or ACIS). The output geometry should be optimized for the chosen objective and be machinable by multi-axis mill and/or lathe.


PHASE I: Design and develop a software to analyze/optimize a component for a particular objective (e.g. strength or stiffness or weight). Demonstrate the feasibility of the software to constrain the analysis/optimization using a multi-axis subtractive machine as a constraint (i.e. the component must manufactured on a multi-axis mill or lathe). The Phase I will include prototype plans to be developed in Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop and prototype the software design from Phase I and demonstrate its ability to analyze/optimize a component for multiple objectives (e.g., strength and stiffness). The software should constrain the analysis/optimization using a multi-axis subtractive machine as a constraint (i.e., the component must be manufactured on a multi-axis mill and/or lathe). Additionally, the software should incorporate �machinability� or ease/speed of manufacturing as a constraint. Lastly, use a design as agreed upon between the United States Navy and the performer to demonstrate the software, ending with the fabrication of a component optimized for strength, stiffness and/or weight to be made on a multi-axis mill and/or lathe.� The output of the software will be a CAD file(s) of neutral file type (i.e., Parasolid, STEP, IGES, or ACIS) . The output geometry should be optimized for the chosen objectives (strength, stiffness, and/or weight) and be machinable by a multi-axis mill and/or lathe.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Validate previously developed parts optimized for multiple objectives through mechanical testing. Develop an interface to accept imported geometry from other CAD software packages. Develop a stand-alone interface or interface with an existing software company�s package (e.g., Solidworks, ANSYS, ABAQUS, and/or Altair).


Successful development of this technology would benefit manufacturers and would speed the development of machined products, greatly reducing design cycles, and optimizing the performance of machined components for all industries. Both the aerospace industry and personal electronics manufacturing sector would benefit from this technology development.



1. Liu, J. & To, A. C. �Topology optimization for hybrid additive-subtractive manufacturing.� Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, Volume 55, Issue 4, 2016, pp. 1281-1299. https://par.nsf.gov/servlets/purl/10026127


2. Zuo, K.T., Chen, L.P., Zhang, Y.Q., & Yang, J. �Manufacturing- and machining-based topology optimization.� The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Volume 27, Issue 5-6, 2005, pp. 531-536. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00170-004-2210-8


KEYWORDS: Optimization, Machining, Modeling, Simulation, Design, Manufacturing



The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 20.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD DSIP Topic website at rt.cto.mil/rtl-small-business-resources/sbir-sttr/ for any updates. The DoD issued its 20.2 SBIR BAA on May 6, 2020, which opens to receive proposals on June 3, 2020, and closes July 2, 2020 at 12:00 noon ET.

Direct Contact with Topic Authors. During the pre-release period (May 6 to June 2, 2020) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic.

Questions should be limited to specific information related to improving the understanding of a particular topic�s requirements. Proposing firms may not ask for advice or guidance on solution approach and you may not submit additional material to the topic author. If information provided during an exchange with the topic author is deemed necessary for proposal preparation, that information will be made available to all parties through SITIS (SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System). After the pre-release period, questions must be asked through the SITIS on-line system as described below.

SITIS Q&A System. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on June 3, 2020 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period. However, proposers may submit written questions through SITIS at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/submissions/login, login and follow instructions. In SITIS, the questioner and respondent remain anonymous but all questions and answers are posted for general viewing.

Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/ to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 703-214-1333 or via email at [email protected]