It is very exciting to print gadgets and robots at home, however some of them can be weak and fragile - the printed fabrications often fail at points of high stress.
"I have an entire zoo of broken 3-D printed objects in my office," said Bedrich Benes, an associate professor of computer graphics at Purdue University.
(Bedrich Benes, an associate professor of computer graphics at Purdue University showing some of the failed or misshapen objects.
Credit: Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
"You can go online, create something using a 3-D printer and pay $300, only to find that it isn't strong enough to survive shipping and arrives in more than one piece," said Radomir Mech, senior research manager from Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs.
Researchers at Purdue and Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs have jointly developed a new piece of software that automatically scans 3D models and correct the problematic cases before they are printed.
Former Purdue doctoral student Ondrej Stava created the software application, which automatically strengthens objects either by increasing the thickness of key structural elements or by adding struts. The tool also uses a third option, reducing the stress on structural elements by hollowing out overweight elements.
"We not only make the objects structurally better, but we also make them much more inexpensive," Mech said. "We have demonstrated a weight and cost savings of 80 percent."
The new tool automatically identifies "grip positions" where a person is likely to grasp the object. A "lightweight structural analysis solver" analyses the object using a mesh-based simulation. It requires less computing power than traditional finite-element modeling tools, which are used in high-precision work such as designing jet engine turbine blades.
After areas with high structural stress are found, the model is corrected by combining three approaches: hollowing, thickening, and strut insertion. This detection and correction repeats until all problematic cases are corrected. This process is designed to create a model that is visually similar to the original model, while possessing greater structural integrity.
"The 3D printing doesn't have to be so precise, so we developed our own structural analysis program that doesn't pay significant attention to really high precision," Benes said.
Findings were detailed in a paper presented during the SIGGRAPH 2012 conference in August.
Future research may focus on better understanding how structural strength is influenced by the layered nature of 3-D-printed objects. The researchers may also expand their algorithms to include printed models that have moving parts.
Source: via Eurekalert
Posted in 3D Software
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