Aug 8, 2016 | By Benedict

German startup Additive Works is developing a simulation-based preprocessing software for metal additive manufacturing. The “Amphyon” software package, currently in beta, uses a four-step approach which enables manufacturers to predict and avoid potential deformations in their printed parts.

As the metal additive manufacturing industry expands its collective wealth of knowledge and experience, users of SLM 3D printers are becoming less likely to create faulty printed parts. While a complete amateur might make the mistake of printing an unsupported or weak structure which exhibits radical contortions before it has even left the print bed, most makers now know a few things about stress points, deformations, and how to avoid bad prints. Despite these advancements, problems still persist even for the most advanced users of laser-based 3D printers. Problems such as residual stresses, deformations, and insufficient part density can occur frequently and, due to various design, material, and hardware factors, can often be hard to predict.

Additive Works, an additive manufacturing startup based in the German city of Bremen and founded by staff at the University of Bremen, is currently developing software which it claims could eliminate many of the common problems associated with metal 3D printing. Cracks, poor surface quality, and insufficient densities could all be wiped out, the startup claims, with the use of Amphyon, its AM preprocessing software which is currently available to beta testers. The secret to Additive Works’ potentially print-saving software is something the company calls the “ASAP Principle,” a four-step procedure designed to iron out any faults in a 3D design before printing takes place. The four stages of the ASAP Principle are as follows:


The first stage of the ASAP Principle is a CAD-based assessment of a part, in which the software calculates expected distortion tendencies, post-processing requirements, support volume, and build time for all possible orientations of the selected part. This stage of the procedure allows manufacturers to assess design and cost feasibility prior to developing a part further, while also allowing for manual or automatic reorientation of a part based on user preferences and the calculated process efforts.


The second step of the ASAP Principle is a quick simulation of the stresses and distortions present in the 3D model—both those that would occur during printing and those that would become manifest after removing the part from the build plate. A custom-made solver, tailored for additive manufacturing and GPU parallelization, enables high performance and accuracy. The results of the simulation can then be used to offset part distortion by generating a pre-deformed 3D model, resulting in a less deviated final print.


The third stage of the ASAP Principle involves a process of adaptation. Users can conduct a quick geometry analysis using the software’s “Sinter Guard” module, which enables local adaptation of process parameters. This module can be used to avoid overheating problems during printing and to safeguard against the unwanted adhesion of extra metal powder particles. Additionally, the software’s “Stress Guard” module can be used to align simulation-informed vectors in a way which reduces stresses and deformations during printing, the consequence being a reduction of printing distortion and an increase in part stability.

3D Printing

The final stage of the ASAP Principle is the printing process itself. Once the assessment, simulation, and adaptation stages are complete, the user can 3D print a metal part with greater stability and fewer distortions.

Since April 2016, Additive Works has been enlisting beta testers to try out its new 3D printing preprocessing software. Beta testing will continue until January 2017, after which a final version of Amphyon will be released. In the meantime, users can still apply to join the beta community.

At present, Amphyon’s modules can be accessed through a specially designed, user-friendly GUI. However, Additive Works is currently in talks with a number of 3D printing software developers about the possibility of incorporating Amphyon modules, in plug-in form, into existing software suites. Additive Works believes that this collaborative approach will help to bring its preprocessing solution to a greater number of users in a shorter space of time—in other words, get ready to use Amphyon ASAP.



Posted in 3D Software



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