The first day of formnext is well underway and the new product announcements have been rolling out at a fast rate. One of the latest comes from Stratasys, which today announced the release of its new GrabCAD Voxel Print software solution. According to Stratasys, the software offers users voxel-level control over the whole design and 3D printing process. With the ability to manipulate microscopic voxels, users can achieve 3D printed properties and effects that were not previously possible.
“With GrabCAD Voxel Print, we are taking the power of our unique PolyJet™ full color, multi-material capability used by customers all over the world and multiplying exponentially the opportunities it affords,” said Gina Scala, Director of Marketing for Global Education, Stratasys. “This machine control utility is designed to enable our customers to manipulate thousands of materials at the voxel level to produce 3D models that fit precise material requirements unachievable any other way. It, in effect, turns the Stratasys J750 3D Printer into the world’s premium platform for experimentation, discovery and innovation. Amazing new product ideas are often born in the research lab; that’s where GrabCAD Voxel Print can make a substantial impact on design and manufacturing.”
GrabCAD Voxel Print works with the Stratasys J750 3D printing system and its Digital Materials, which are created by combining PolyJet photopolymers inside the 3D printer. GrabCAD Voxel Print allows these material concentrations, structures and color mapping to be manipulated at the voxel level, meaning that users can create new Digital Materials to suit their needs. Those could include advanced structures, color gradients, internal properties and textures that have not been possible before.
“With 3D printing, LAIKA is successfully reviving the age-old technique of stop-motion animation,” said Brian McLean, Head of Rapid Prototyping at LAIKA. “And this sets us off on an amazing journey. The Stratasys multi-material PolyJet™ technology empowers our animators with the precise, voxel-level control necessary to build the most intricate, creative characters we can imagine. In shot-by-shot, custom animation, this level of detail is critical to bring these films to life. That’s something LAIKA just couldn’t achieve with other technology.”
Users of GrabCAD Voxel Print can use their own model layer slicer tool to assign properties at the voxel level, slice by slice, allowing them to go from boundary representation to volumetric modeling. The software then generates a GrabCAD Voxel File that can be directly loaded to GrabCAD and then 3D printed on the J750.
“GrabCAD Voxel Print is a game-changing production technology. For us it’s driving inquiry into new design automation approaches that span and integrate architectural, industrial and engineering design,” said Martin Dunn, Associate Provost for Research and Co-Director, Digital Manufacturing and Design (DManD) Center, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). “This is leading to new ways to conceive and create products that blur the traditional line between material and structure and traditional boundaries between the digital and physical world.”
Stratasys also announced today that it has formed a partnership with e-Xstream engineering, a software and engineering services company with a focus on multi-scale modeling of composite materials and structures. The two will work together to produce high performance process modeling and structural analysis numerical tools for Stratasys’ 3D printing systems. They expect that the combination of Stratasys’ 3D printing systems and e-Xstream’s numerical tools will provide high performance design and validation capabilities.
Benefits to customers will include better material understanding and greater dimensional accuracy of 3D printed parts, which optimizes output results and expands the range of applications. Stratasys hopes that this will encourage the increased adoption of its 3D printing technology in industries like aerospace and automotive.
“Stratasys recognizes the importance of simulation and modeling as a way for customers to optimize part production by designing with additive in mind, while ensuring that the material and process will deliver ‘print right the first time’ assurance,” said Scott Sevcik, VP Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys.
The partnership aims to develop predictive simulation solutions for Stratasys’ FDM technology to facilitate the production of higher performance parts with tighter tolerances. e-Xstream’s standalone material modeling platform, Digimat, will be leveraged. Digimat has a self-contained module that enables a flexible interface that is accessible to everyone from beginner-level to advanced users.
Key parts of the collaboration include process simulation, which is applied to the design-to-print workflow for high accuracy and repeatability. Advanced numerical tools will help to predict and address part warping and realize the impact of design decisions on the manufacturing process. Material engineering is also needed to create a framework and methodology for characterization by understanding the parameters driving the material’s behavior, and to support the development of future material system solutions. Finally, part performance predictions will be applied to give the product designer an accurate early design.
“For engineers to unlock the design freedom that additive manufacturing offers, they need tools for accurate and effective analysis,” said Sevcik. “We are happy to be collaborating with simulation leaders, such as e-Xstream, whose customized tools are a key contributor to enabling additive manufacturing to become a high-performance production technology.”
The next release of Digimat will offer the first material models of ULTEM 9085 with a full process package for the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer. Customers will have the numerical tools to perform process simulation and structural analysis by feeding critical pre-process information from Stratasys pre-processing software Insight to Digimat’s AM module.
“We are very excited about this collaboration, which we believe will enable Stratasys customers to benefit from e-Xstream’s polymer multi-scale modeling expertise to improve the way they design for manufacturing,” said Roger Assaker, CEO of e-Xstream engineering and Chief Material Strategist of MSC Software, of which e-Xstream is a subsidiary. “The ability to foresee the influence of designs on part printing and performance should enable users to save time and reduce costs by improving overall accuracy, reliability and workflow efficiencies.”
If you’re at formnext, you can learn more about both GrabCAD Voxel Print and the collaboration with e-Xstream at Stratasys’ booth, F40 in Hall 3.1.Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. [Images: Business Wire]