New system reduces 3D print designing time

New York, Sep 4 (IANS) Now 3D printing would be much easier as researchers have developed a new system that automatically turns computer-aided design (CAD) files into visual models that users can modify in real time simply by moving virtual sliders on a web page.

Once the design meets the user’s specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3D printer.

Currently, even making the simplest 3D designs require expertise with CAD applications and, even for the experts, the design process is immensely time consuming.

“We envision a world where everything you buy can potentially be customised, and technologies such as 3D printing promise that that might be cost-effective,” said one of the designers Masha Shugrina from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The new system, called Fab Forms, begins with a design created by a seasoned CAD user.

It then sweeps through a wide range of values for the design’s parameters — the numbers that a CAD user would typically change by hand — calculating the resulting geometries and storing them in a database.

For each of those geometries, the system also runs a battery of tests, specified by the designer, and it again stores the results.

Finally, the system generates a user interface — a web page that can be opened in an ordinary browser.

The interface consists of a central window, which displays a 3D model of an object, and a group of sliders, which vary the parameters of the object’s design.

Moving one of the sliders presents in real time what would take hours to calculate with a CAD programme.

The researchers presented their new system at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Siggraph conference last month.

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