Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Shapeways Rolls Out New Suite of Tools for Checking 3D Models

ST Medical Devices

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The team at Shapeways say they’re always on the lookout for ways to make sure your 3D models can be printed. To that end, they’ve created a suite of tools to make design and material choices more effective.

shapeways heatmapThe tools are designed to make the process of how your files are checked more transparent, and they help you visualize your files and potentially fix issues yourself before you submit them for output.

In March of last year, the company created a wall thickness fixing tool which proved successful among users, and Shapeways says that inspired them to invent new ways users view a particular model which takes into account the same guidelines the 3D printing engineers at Shapeways use to determine if a file meets material design guidelines.

The new suite of tools, 15 of them to be exact, is meant to let users view their models and how they stack up against metrics for mesh integrity and repair, bounding box, loose shells, part count, wire thickness, details, text, part clearance, escape holes, machine space, weak geometry, texture, interlocking parts, and the company’s content policy.

The toolkit also includes an “improved wall thickness tool” which includes what they call a “heatmap view.”

Shapeways says the new toolkit enables users to clip models along the x, y, and z axes to help them identify any potential issues faster.

overviewGrouped into two areas, the tools are broken down to functionality which includes ‘On upload we automatically check…’ and ‘After purchase we manually check…’.

Shapeways says the wall thickness, bounding box, mesh integrity and repair, loose shells, and part count tools in the first group have automatic checks built to show a green check, yellow warning sign, or a red ‘X’ indicating the initial level of confidence the tools have that your models will pass them when they’re manually inspected during the “post-purchase” process.

The tools which check machine space, loose shells, and wall thickness tools are also aimed at helping users visualize and detect issues. They say the improved wall thickness and part count tools offer ‘fixes’ to make repairs to models related to the issue in the tools.

Shapeways says the help you can get from the tools isn’t just limited to ‘before purchase’ scenarios, but can also be helpful if a particular model is rejected.

Rejection-Inline-with-Guidelines-in-3D-tools-Flower-1If a model is rejected, the user will receive an email which includes detailed information outlining any problems and explaining those issues in detail.

If you’re interesting in testing out the new tools from Shapeways, they suggest that you upload a new model, read the 3D tools tutorial here, or check out 3D tools using models you may have already uploaded to a collection.

Shapeways offers a very streamlined and intuitive way to upload your 3D models for printing through their service, but sometimes it’s difficult to really know what to expect from the finished product. Do you think this new set of 15 tools from the company will help you prepare your files for printing? Let us know in the Shapeways Tools for Checking 3D Models forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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