Additive manufacturing (AM) refers to a group of manufacturing techniques that produce components by melting and bonding material powders in a layer-by-layer fashion. By virtue of its capability of producing parts with complex geometry and functionally graded materials, AM is leading the charge of the “third industrial revolution” and has attracted great attention in multiple industrial sectors, such as manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, and others. Sustainability of AM remains an open question. AM is inherently an energy expensive process and may be energy inefficient as compared to the traditional manufacturing process. Thus, there exists an urgent need to identify the key influence factors and quantify the energy consumption during AM production. The proposed study aims to obtain a preliminary understanding of the impact of part surface geometry on AM energy consumption. The study addresses the effect of part geometry on AM energy consumption through experimental design method. Part geometry consists of two level meanings, part surface area and part surface complexity. The study utilizes a MakerGear M2 fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer to complete the designed experiments. By implementing experimental design and statistical analysis technologies, the study firstly identifies the correlation between part geometry and AM energy consumption. The result shows that part surface area is positively correlated with AM energy consumption and no significant statistical evidence to support that part surface complexity is associated with AM energy consumption. Such findings are of significance to AM energy consumption in terms of both qualitative and quantitative analysis. In addition, the study has significant potentials to guide the future AM energy consumption model development and to be extended to future AM process improvement.

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