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.
The construction industry has long taken advantage of prebuilt components, from prehung doors to prefabbed roof trusses. But the latest trend is to apply manufacturing workflows to larger standardized and custom components, with digital modeling empowering factory-built bespoke components.
A major benefit of constructing a building virtually is the cost savings gained by identifying errors in the design before they are found on site. One of the more common errors that can be avoided is when two objects overlap in space or clash. For
We often focus the success of new partners, showcasing how Spatial helped with bringing a new product to market. But that focus overlooks the importance of the benefits and results of a decades-long partnership. It is time to celebrate nearly 30 years of market leadership of one of our oldest customers and the partnership that helped build it.
Manufacturers rely on 3D computer-aided design (CAD) files provided to them by design and engineering teams. This could occur internally (within a company possessing both design and production capabilities) and across different companies.
Following the design and analysis phase, computer aided design (CAD) files are usually converted into polyhedra file formats for preparation and manufacturing in 3D printers. STL (STereoLithography or Standard Tessellation Language) is the most common polyhedra file format, having originally been developed to translate CAD files into a readable format for 3D printers in 1987.
Since launching in 1995, SolidWorks has emerged as a widely adopted computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) suite. In fact, as of March 2016 SolidWorks had captured 32% of the CAD market, making it the leading CAD suite in use.
Since its introduction in the 1980s, IGES (short for “Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) was the main computer aided design (CAD) format used for enabling the sharing of CAD files.
The main phases involved in additive manufacturing are that of design and the manufacturing process. Practically, the design work is done on a computer aided design (CAD) suite such as SolidWorks (and others), while the physical production phase - i.e. 3D printing - is facilitated by exporting the CAD file (e.g. SLDPRT) to STL, a format that can be read by 3D printers.
The use of additive manufacturing is growing in high-tech industries. According to the market research firm MarketsandMarkets (M&M), 3D printer production and additive manufacturing outputs grew in value to $3.5 billion in 2017. The leading adopters of additive manufacturing were the medical devices, aerospace and automotive industries.