SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 February 2022

Open Vector Format for Laser-Based Computer-Aided Manufacturing


Data preparation for additive manufacturing (AM) is a complex process that gained importance as the industrialization of various AM technologies progressed. Lots of effort has been spent on the analysis of three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided design data handling, where the Standard Tessellation Language, or STL, forms a de facto industry standard. To manufacture a given geometry using AM, the 3D data need to be sliced into 2.5D layer-wise data and subsequently into vectors. For AM machines based on multiaxis systems, the G-Code Standard is common for the transfer of already sliced information. Yet, for systems using a galvanometer scanner to change the position of the focus and working point (e.g., laser powder bed fusion), G-Code has several limitations. Proprietary formats are almost exclusively used instead of standards. In this paper, the requirements for a more flexible, open, and technology-independent data format are discussed and analyzed. The data structure, objects, and metadata are deducted from the use case technology laser powder bed fusion. Based on this, an open-source reference implementation of a new format prototype, the Open Vector Format using Google Protocol Buffers technology, is presented and its performance is evaluated in research projects of RWTH Aachen University.

Author Information

Dirks, Sebastian
Digital Additive Production, RWTH Aachen University, DE
Collet, Andreas
Digital Additive Production, RWTH Aachen University, DE
Schleifenbaum, Johannes
Digital Additive Production, RWTH Aachen University, DE
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Pages: 117–130
DOI: 10.1520/STP163720210013
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7722-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7721-5