Additive Manufacturing | 1 MINUTE READ

New Software Collaborations Advance CAD for 3D Printing

SolidWorks is working with HP on computer modeling of the Multi Jet Fusion process and with 3D Systems to optimize designs for plastic and metal printing without STL conversion.


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Two software collaborations were announced last month to make possible more powerful computer-aided design of 3D-printed parts. One partner in both collaborations is Dassault Systèmes’ SolidWorks CAD platform, Waltham, Mass.Dassault agreed last month to work with HP, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., to optimize SolidWorks to take advantage of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing process. A unique capability of that process is to control part properties at the individual voxel (3D pixel) level. This will enable design and production of parts with colors, textures, physical properties (e.g., stiffness or flexibility), or electrical conductivity that vary in a controlled manner throughout the part. No time frame was cited for this development project.

A second announcement last month was the launch of 3DXpert for SolidWorks software from 3D Systems Corp., Rock Hill, S.C. This software provides a new layer of tools within a familiar CAD environment to enable SolidWorks users to prepare and optimize designs for both plastic and metal additive manufacturing. The software is said to maintain design integrity by working with native CAD solids without converting them to STL. It reportedly optimizes structures with rapid creation of lattice-based structurs for lightweighting and applying surface textures. It also uses real-time analysis for best-fit positioning and orientation of the part to ensure surface quality and prevent part distortion. It also accelerates preparation time with automatic features such as tray setup and estimation of material usage and build time. Available exclusively to SolidWorks customers, the standard edition of 3DXpert for Solidworks is now included in their annual SolidWorks subscription and is ready for download.