An ACO-Based Tool-Path Optimizer for 3-D Printing Applications

Kai Yin Fok, Chi Tsun Cheng, Nuwan Ganganath, Herbert Ho Ching Iu, Chi K. Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Layered additive manufacturing, also known as three-dimensional (3-D) printing, has revolutionized transitional manufacturing processes. Fabrication of 3-D models with complex structures is now feasible with 3-D printing technologies. By performing careful tool-path optimization, the printing process can be speeded up, while the visual quality of printed objects can be improved simultaneously. The optimization process can be perceived as an undirected rural postman problem (URPP) with multiple constraints. In this paper, a tool-path optimizer is proposed, which further optimizes solutions generated from a slicer software to alleviate visual artifacts in 3-D printing and shortens print time. The proposed optimizer is based on a modified ant colony optimization (ACO), which exploits unique properties in 3-D printing. Experiment results verify that the proposed optimizer can deliver significant improvements in computational time, print time, and visual quality of printed objects over optimizers based on conventional URPP and ACO solvers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8590761
Pages (from-to)2277-2287
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Ant colony optimization (ACO)
  • arc routing
  • layered additive manufacturing
  • rural postman problem
  • tool-path optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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