Software is an integral part of Additive Manufacturing, both in the machines and in the workflow. The rapid pace of innovation in software for AM is evident in the constant stream of news and new developments. This week we decided to highlight just that with some of the latest developments.
Tools in the Cloud
CAxMan stands for Computer Aided Technologies for Additive Manufacturing, it’s a project aimed at helping software and hardware work better together when it comes to industrial additive manufacturing. CAxMan is a cloud-based marketplace, gathering together various “tools” related to AM such as simulation, process planning, and analysis intended to create components that take advantage of the additive benefits (use case in the video below).
1 Hardware + 2 Software = End to End
The Flow Print is a print preparation software for the Sapphire System which is a laser-based method of metal additive manufacturing (example part up top). Intelligent Fusion is software which enables an integrated workflow. Together, the three claim to form an end to end AM solution offered by Velo3D in collaboration with 3DMT. The combination of the systems aims to cover many of the aspects and difficulties when facing industrial AM, such as design limitations, consistent production, and cost-effective manufacturing. According to the company, one of its features is the ability to print without support structures. Stefan Zschiegner, the company’s Chief Product Officer explains “This [part above] is impossible to build on conventional [additive manufacturing] systems it is a perfect example to be built on the Sapphire System because there are a large amount of various angles and you want to avoid the need for supports. Sapphire takes these constraints away.”
The Right Part
The Partfinder software by Additive Innovation automatically identifies components for additive manufacturing. This can be useful especially for companies questioning if AM is a suitable manufacturing method for their products, and which parts have the most to gain from AM in terms of physical characteristics and cost. The software analyzes and sorts the data by processes and machines, converting the CAD data accordingly.
For the Next Generation
Recently, Sculpteo launched the Fabpilot education program, an accompaniment to the Fabpilot Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. The education program helps make the knowledge needed to fully take advantage of AM accessible to institutions. Fabpilot includes tools such as orientation, nesting, order quotations, real-time project review, and the education program aims to help students and teachers learn these tools and maximize their use of the entire additive manufacturing process. “To bring this technology to future generations, we have decided to push things further by launching the Fabpilot Education Program. Whether for elementary, secondary, university, or postgraduate usage, Fabpilot is committed to the development of the next generation of 3D printing pioneers,” said Clément Moreau, CEO, and co-founder of Sculpteo and Fabpilot.
Machine Learning for Manufacturing
Senvol, an online database of additive manufacturing, is said to be the most comprehensive database encompassing various methods and materials for industrial AM. Recently, Senvol received a grant of almost $100,000 from the The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the US Department of Commerce. The grant is intended to apply data analytics to the AM process. The analysis will be conducted by Senvol’s machine learning software, based on data generated by NIST’s test studies, with the end-goal of increasing the adoption of additive manufacturing in U.S-based industries. The collaboration between the two should result in an integration of Senvol Machine Learning with the NIST’s AM Material Database, creating a continuously updated analysis process.
Building a Workflow
Automated software developer, AMFG is helping Makelab to streamline its 3D printing services. Christina Perla, Makelab co-founder said, “as we scale our business, we’re always looking for innovative ways to solve key issues like keeping track of all our machines, effectively packing builds and ultimately, optimizing our workflow for maximum efficiency. AMFG answered all of these questions and more, so we can provide a faster, more efficient service for our customers” (screenshot below).
AMFG’s AM production management software (infographic below) was upgraded recently to include a Holistic Build Analysis tool. Instead of using nesting software which can be time-consuming, the new tool uses machine learning to estimate the build capacity. Quick estimation of the machine’s build capacity can help optimize the production process allowing more accurate scheduling and part arrangement, leading to reduced costs and time.
Another updated software is Desktop Metal’s generative design platform, Live Parts. The software enables users to reach a variety of design options based on limitations set in advance (size, weight, tolerance etc). The new feature, connections, allows the users to manually or automatically join separated surfaces, which leads to a wider range of design outputs (video below). Desktop Metal engineers showed the potential of the feature in a lever they created. According to the use of the lever, they defined the areas were it should withstand applied force, the rest was generated by the software, creating different structures enduring stress in certain areas while other areas remain lightweight.
The world of software is full of partnerships and initiatives and AM software is no different. Altair provides engineering software solutions in 5 categories of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) and High Performance Computing (HPC), including optimization and simulation for additive manufacturing. Their new startup program grants startups full access to their software at up to 80% discount. The program also includes over 150 Altair Partner Alliance software applications, and the relevant training online and offline. One of the users of Altair’s Startup Program is additive manufacturing startup Morf3D, which provides AM services from design optimization to certification (below is a 3D printed optimized bracket by Morf3D, RUAG, and Altair).
Another recent software related news has to do with Octoprint, an open source free web interface for 3D printers allowing remote access. Richard Porter and Xavier Mertens, security researchers from SANS ISC identified that printers using OctoPrint are exposed, allowing anyone to access the printer, the settings, the design files, and even the webcam. This can result in corporate IP theft, or sabotage done to the files leading to the manufacturing of faulty products. We, at LEO Lane, offer consistency enforcement and IP protection that can help – the webcams are a different story…
IMTS is happening this week, a number of companies will be showcasing their software solutions, such as the 3DXpert 14 additive manufacturing software by 3D Systems and the cloud-based analytics and intelligence software platform KUKA Connect.
We are always happy to hear what’s new in additive manufacturing software or hardware, want to share your news? Tell us about it in the comments below or email us. For more insights and information follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates.