The laminated object manufacturing (LOM) process is a freeform fabrication process used to produce wood-like prototypes and patterns for manufacturing processes such as sand casting. Therefore, surface roughness is an important factor in the utility of LOM prototypes. This study investigated the source of surface roughness in the LOM process to offer insight into the in-process control of surface roughness. A full-factorial experiment was performed to investigate the effect of layer thickness and orientation angle on the centerline average surface roughness of LOM prototypes. Results show orientation angle and paper thickness to be statistically significant. Further, the nature of surface roughness in LOM was found to be different than the nature of surface roughness in other freeform fabrication processes such as stereolithography. Overall, this study indicates that the inprocess control of prototype surface roughness may be possible in LOM by gaining greater control of the working distance during processing.
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