MachineWorks Ltd, leading provider of CNC Simulation and verification and polygonal mesh processing software, will be demonstrating the Polygonica software toolkit for 3D Printing at the AMUG Expo in the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville, Florida, from April 19 to 23.
MachineWorks double offset dragon
The annual meeting of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group dates back to the early 1990s and has grown to become the leading forum for educating and advancing the uses and applications of additive manufacturing technologies. The Polygonica team will be exhibiting for the second year running.
In particular, we will be demonstrating some of the new features of Polygonica aimed at the next generation of 3D printing technology. This includes Polygonica's unique full colour mesh healing and slicing capabilities. As more companies announce full colour printers, it is vital that software products keep pace with hardware development.
Polygonica can fully heal meshes - closing open edges and holes and removing self-intersections and non-manifold edges - whilst maintaining and carefully interpolating colour information. This can include face and vertex colours, or multiple texture maps. The meshes can then be sliced ready to be sent to the printer. In many cases, the printer requires the slice to be defined as a thick coloured band or ribbon and Polygonica's profile offsetting takes care of that.
Another development is a different approach to the problem of ensuring the printability of models. Some printing technologies may have problems with very thin geometry, which could break or deform during or after printing. A common approach to determining the location of such geometries is to perform ray-tracing to determine the thickness of the model, and Polygonica has provided this facility since the first release. But such a brute force approach can often lead to false positives.
This new approach can check for thin and problematic areas of a model by performing a double offset: essentially offsetting a mesh inwards and then back out by the same distance. By performing a comparison between the original and the double-offset mesh, it becomes immediately apparent which features may be too small or thin for the particular printing process.
"We originally planned to develop this powerful and unique feature for smoothing, or denoising meshes, particularly those derived from scan data.", said Dr David Knight, Polygonica Sales Manager at MachineWorks. "Not only does this method identify thin and weak features, but also small features such as tunnels and spikes which might not actually be printable".