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WRL files are an extension of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) format . VRML file types enable browser plugins to display virtual reality environments. The term VRML is often referred to as “worlds” or vrml world file - which is also what WRL actually stands for.

Voxels are to 3D what pixels are to 2D.

Firstly -- let’s examine what pixels actually are. Everything you see on your computer screen is made up of very small squares called “pixels.”

Point-cloud modeling is typically used in the process of 3D scanning objects.

Rather than defining surfaces through mathematical formulas, or building them out of rudimentary shapes like triangles -- point cloud modeling creates a representation of a 3D object with densely placed vertices -- or “points” -- along its surface.

Polygonal (or polyhedral) modeling is the most common type of modeling for video games and animation studios.

This type of modeling builds 3D objects out of smaller components called “tris” (triangles) or “polys” (polygons).

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a science that uses data structures to solve issues of fluid flow -- like velocity, density, and chemical compositions.

BRep modeling, or Boundary Representation modeling, is, in CAD applications, the most common type of modeling. BRep is a mathematically precise representation of a 3D object. This representation defines the geometric boundaries between solid and non-solid geometries.

Engineers have the unenviable position of being held entirely responsible for the integrity and safety of all the products and structures they design. Small mistakes in design often lead to imminent disasters (that frequently go to court and get litigated).

This is why products and structures go through an array of stress testing and optimization before being deployed in the real world. But doing so over hundreds of iterations (and to scale) can be prohibitively expensive. So engineers often look to simulation modeling techniques (like Finite Element Analysis) to automate and simplify this testing.

This helps to reduce the use of materials for iterative prototyping, which would otherwise be used in actualization.

Finite element analysis is one of the most common techniques used by engineers and CAD designers to simulate “stress” on their designs.

As manufacturers begin to rely more and more on additive manufacturing (AM), moving from a few select piece parts that are 3D printed, to hundreds of assemblies in complex systems, a cohesive methodology is needed to manage this transition and associated workflows. Companies have tried to deal with these complexities and challenges with point and home-grown solutions, trying to adapt legacy systems to the new reality.

To the uninitiated, 3D printing may seem a simple process — download your CAD file and hit print. But the world of additive manufacturing is more complex. A manufacturer will have to contend with a range of data formats of varying quality (especially if a manufacturer is having to deal with multiple subcontractors for an assembly). This data needs to be correctly translated, made watertight, and made manufacturable — all while retaining design intent. Then a manufacturer needs to combine as many parts as possible to minimize both print time as well as wasted material.