Recent advances in sold freeform fabrication (SFF) present tremendous design freedom for a product design with complex geometries. In this paper, we consider the problem of using rigid materials to design flexible skin of a product component for SFF. A design strategy based on the combination of well-defined meso-structures is presented to achieve desired heterogeneous material properties, and consequently desired flexibility in target directions and positions. We present our computational framework to automate the design optimization process. Due to the dramatically increased design space, a brute force or traditional design optimization method such as the genetic algorithm (GA) and particle swam optimization (PSO) is not efficient. We present a design method based on the idea of analyzing the flexibility of each link for given meso-structures. Two experimental examples are presented to demonstrate its usage in generating the maximum/minimum and target displacements. We also present its comparison with the GA and PSO methods.

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