As we continue to design more intricate parts and microstructures, we’re nearing the limit of current 3D design tools. File sizes for part geometry can exceed 10s of gigabytes and require enterprise-level workstations to open. This complexity adds cost, burdens workflow efficiency, and reduces access to technology. Fortunately, new software is being developed to remove these bottlenecks. In May of this year, nTop and EOS released their Implicit Interop capability, a new file format that drastically reduces file sizes and improves file generation and load times. nTop demoed the software at Formnext 2022, modeling an industrial heat exchanger from Siemens with a file smaller than one megabyte. The STL file for the same model was 10 gigabytes. EOS’s computer aided manufacturing software, EOSPRINT, got access to Implicit Interop via a plugin released in June. EOS customers can now export andimplicit files directly to EOS 3D printers, but non-EOS customers still have options. The 3MF Consortium is a non-profit organization under the Linux Foundation that develops the 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF), an open-source 3D file format offering improved interoperability and efficiency compared with the STL format and other current file standards. 3MF offers significantly smaller file sizes and includes additional data about the part like color, surface texture, and material properties. The Consortium is also continuing to develop new functionality for 3MF with extensions for beam lattices, slicing, high-volume production, and security features. The 3MF Consortium’s ultimate vision is spreading compatibility and support for the core 3MF format to all devices, and its membership could make that possible. The organization’s steering members are industry leading companies including Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Hexagon, HP, Materialise, Microsoft, PTC, Siemens, Stratasys, and 3D Systems. nTop has also joined the consortium as a steering member and the Implicit Interop format is expected to be incorporated in future updates to 3MF to help standardize implicit modeling capabilities across the industry. To keep up with the latest developments, subscribe to the 3MF Newsletter. Help shape the future of industrial 3D printing by being part of the conversation at Formnext Forum Austin, August 28-20, in Austin, Texas. Industrial AM innovation is the focus of the event, which is designed for industrial business leaders who want to further expand AM into their operations, as well as for those who want to evaluate AM as a production technology. It is also a place where engineers, researchers, and those who develop and apply AM technologies can exchange ideas that spur further innovations. Register for Formnext Forum Austin to learn more at formnextforum.com. Use the discount code: FFAIMTS.
The latest software and new organizations are addressing the limitations of current 3D design tools and aiming to spread compatibility and support. Additionally, Formnext Forum Austin offers you the chance to shape the future of industrial 3D printing.