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3D Printing and Design Automation, a match Made in Heaven?

3D Printing and Design Automation, a match Made in Heaven?

August 5th, 2013 / Posted by Maria Sarkar

DriveWorks has long been a
front runner in design automation, providing a versatile set of easy to use
tools allowing you to automate your designs. With 3D printing beginning to
gather pace and commercial 3D printers round the corner, we are asking what
role might design automation play in the 3D printing revolution?

The 3 D’s: Digitalise,
Develop, Deploy

For those who don’t know,
3D printing (or Rapid Prototyping) is a form of additive manufacturing technology
that allows you to create a 3D object by laying down successive layers of a material. You might be wondering,
what is this wonderful material?

The answer to that
question is the key to why 3D printing is talked about in revered tones, with words
like “Revolution” and “World Changing” being thrown about. While currently most
3D printers are printing in plastic, this isn’t where the story ends.

Metal 3D printing is
already out there allowing you to print sturdy and accurate models using only
an STL file. I know what you’re thinking, metal is cool but I can’t eat metal, what
about my dinner, can you print that? Why yes, actually, you can.

NASA have recently granted mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor $125,000 to develop a 3D printer capable of printing food for its
Astronauts , attempting to replace the monotonous mush available 230 miles up with
some delectable digital delights. But it doesn’t end there, oh no.

Need a new body part? Research
conducted by the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute
is pushing the boundaries
of what we thought was possible in 3D printing “We think we can do it
in 10 years — that we can build, from a patient’s own cells, a total
‘bioficial’ heart,” along
with 3D printed skulls it’s clear that in the future we will be looking at
spare body parts as well as spare parts for your hoover. So where does design
automation fit in to all this?

“Design automation is the future of 3D printing design.” Jeffrey Lipton,
Fab@home

In an interview with
Solidsmack
, Jefferey Lipton, one of the members of Fab@home (a university
project set up to bring 3D printing in to the home) stated that he believed that
design automation would become key to 3D printing design, and it’s easy to see
why. Creating 3D CAD files can be a complex and time consuming process, combine
this with the often slow printing times of most 3D printers and Rapid
Prototyping becomes far less rapid.

With design automation
software, it’s easy to capture a design, enabling you to customise it for the needs
of whomever will be using it. This way time isn’t wasted recreating a new
design with only slight adjustments but rather the core design is automatically
changed to fit the new specifications entered by the user. From here a CAD file
can be exported and you can begin 3D printing.

The best part?

While not everyone might
have a 3D printer yet, design automation is very valuable today, in fact
design automation can lead to reduced design times, less errors and adaptable
designs which means design time from start to end is drastically cut.

Manufacturers
with “same but different designs” might have thousands of variations. Design
automation can turn the production of these variations in to a simple and highly efficient process.

We combined DriveWorks Design Automation with our own in house 3D Printer and created variations of one of our Design to Order Furniture projects.

If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, why not try DriveWorks Solo for 30 days and see how it can help you grow your business to the next level.

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