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Gradient-Based Dovetail Joint Shape Optimization for Stiffness

Proc. ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication, October 2023

Xingyuan Sun, Chenyue Cai,
Ryan P. Adams, Szymon Rusinkiewicz
Initial and optimized designs of single and complex dovetail joints with average stiffness measured over three batches and external forces applied on the two sides. (a) (c): initial (randomly chosen) single and complex dovetail joints. (b) (d): optimized single and complex dovetail joints, which provide greater stiffness.

It is common to manufacture an object by decomposing it into parts that can be assembled. This decomposition is often required by size limits of the machine, the complex structure of the shape, etc. To make it possible to easily assemble the final object, it is often desirable to design geometry that enables robust connections between the subcomponents. In this project, we study the task of dovetail-joint shape optimization for stiffness using gradient-based optimization. This optimization requires a differentiable simulator that is capable of modeling the contact between the two parts of a joint, making it possible to reason about the gradient of the stiffness with respect to shape parameters. Our simulation approach uses a penalty method that alternates between optimizing each side of the joint, using the adjoint method to compute gradients. We test our method by optimizing the joint shapes in three different joint shape spaces, and evaluate optimized joint shapes in both simulation and real-world tests. The experiments show that optimized joint shapes achieve higher stiffness, both synthetically and in real-world tests.

Xingyuan Sun, Chenyue Cai, Ryan P. Adams, and Szymon Rusinkiewicz.
"Gradient-Based Dovetail Joint Shape Optimization for Stiffness."
Proc. ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication, October 2023.


   author = "Xingyuan Sun and Chenyue Cai and Ryan P. Adams and Szymon Rusinkiewicz",
   title = "Gradient-Based Dovetail Joint Shape Optimization for Stiffness",
   booktitle = "Proc. ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication",
   year = "2023",
   month = oct