DriveWorks has long been a front runner in design automation, with its easy to use interface for rule building and versatile form designer.
With interest in 3D printing gathering pace and commercial 3D printers round the corner, we are asking what role design automation might play in the 3D printing revolution?
The 3 D’s: Digitalise, Develop, Deploy
For those who don’t know, 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology that allows you to create a 3D object by laying down successive layers of a material.
And 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.
A recent trip to a Maker Fair witnessed 3D Printing with pancake mixture, whilst we are holding out for the chocolate version.
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 can be 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 start dreaming of your own 3D printed variations.