Software to detect structural defects

Because gravity, isn’t always a 3D modeller’s best friend

When you build small intricate 3D models in a virtual environment for 3D printing in the real world, you quickly learn 3D modelling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re making miniatures with tiny parts. Sometimes these delicate pieces can break. The key is to know which parts you need to scale up, both for structural reasons and for enhancing the contrast of small details. Unless you have a background in engineering this is usually a trial and error process.
Fortunately, the team in the High Performance Computer Graphics Lab at Purdue University with support from Adobe, have come up with a software solution that you can use to import your 3D models, analyse them for structural weak spots and it automatically proposes solutions such as increasing the thickness of parts, so that they can be more rigidly self-supporting structures.

The Purdue team has built a solid foundation, to improve the results of 3D prints, but admits they have more work to do, as it is limited currently to static models, or those without hinges, flexing and/or moving parts.

Via 3Ders

David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly article on personal fabrication for Ponoko. Follow him on Twitter!

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