3D Cubic Internal Structure
RAPID 2016 was packed with news and announcements from the 3D technologies’ industry, from software launches at Materialise to potentially game-changing hardware unveiling from HP, the floor was filled with signs of innovation coming from all corners of the industry. Type A Machines, manufacturer of the Series 1 line of 3D printers and Print Pod, also chose the Orlando event to announce two new innovations, designed to dramatically improve the functionality of the “infill” of a 3D printed part.
These two new methodologies, Absolute Dimensions and 3D Internal Structures, are intended to work together, to create 3D parts that meet specified material and structural characteristics more accurately.
“Thinking of a part’s internal geometry as infill is to fundamentally misunderstand the role of internal structure in a 3D printed part,” Andrew Rutter, Type A Machines Founder and CTO, commented. “It is akin to ignoring more than half the object. The term “infill” is inaccurate. We need to understand it for what it truly is, internal structure.”
Typically with Fused Filament Fabrication processes, the infill is determined using percentages to specify part density. Made up of 2D layers, this method doesn’t guarantee repeatability and means engineers cannot predict the characteristics of the printed part.
With Absolute Dimensions, Type A Machines sees this as an opportunity to move to a more functional and reliable method of defining an interior structure using a common measurement, millimetres. The second step is moving beyond the paradigm of 2D infill to a true 3D isotropic structure throughout the object. Type A Machines’ 3D internal structure is an infinitely repeating tessellating cubic lattice, providing isotropic strength (equal in all directions), predictable print times, reliable results and consistent part performance.
Combined, these two innovations are critical to the engineering of final parts intended for real world usage. The future is one where the internal geometry of 3D printed product is as much part of the design space as the external geometry.
Type A Machines has incorporated both Absolute Dimensions and True 3D Internal Structures in a public beta release of Cura Type A, now available for download.