Gradient-Based Dovetail Joint Shape Optimization for Stiffness

Xingyuan Sun, Chenyue Cai, Ryan P. Adams, Szymon Rusinkiewicz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - SCF 2023
Subtitle of host publication8th Annual ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication
EditorsStephen N. Spencer
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9798400703195
StatePublished - Oct 8 2023
Event8th Annual ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication, SCF 2023 - New York, United States
Duration: Oct 8 2023Oct 10 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - SCF 2023: 8th Annual ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication


Conference8th Annual ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication, SCF 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Materials Science


  • 3D Printing
  • Dovetail Joint
  • End-to-End Differentiable
  • Gradient-based Optimization


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