MIT has created a new software, making multi-material 3D printing easy to use.
New software developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab aims to be the “Photoshop for 3D materials,” making it accessible and simple for basically anyone to use.
So how easy is Foundry to use?
The Photoshop comparison seems suitable – the MIT team behind the software tested it out with non-designers to prove the simplicity of the program. Each non-designer was provided with three separate gadgets for them to make.
Each non-designer was provided with three separate gadgets for them to make, they included a wheel combo, a teddy bear and the bone structure (not the easiest for a non-designer to create on foreign software). The users not only succeeded to create them after an hour tutorial but also averaged in a 48, 26 and 56 minutes respectively after getting the walkthrough.
The “Foundry” system developed by CSAIL researchers help with advanced 3D printers like MIT’s MultiFab printer that can print in high resolution using multiple, functional materials at once, giving designers and operators a way to print complicated items that combine different materials in a wide variety of possibilities. Foundry includes real-time previewing, so while a user is tweaking their design, they’ll see exactly what it’s going to look like. This provides a clear vision in terms of output, including the ability to drill down to a cross section to see how the 3D printer will produce the internal sections of the parts.
While using the new MIT software, researchers have already printed a ping-pong paddle, skis with very shiny surfaces, a wheel for a tricycle, a bike helmet and a bone. The team says it could actually be used in surgical planning applications.
The key is that each of these projects combine a number of various materials to achieve different functional properties in separate parts of the whole.
Already, the team says its testing has resulted in a better tricycle wheel design, and the potential for similar advancements in a number of fields exists should Foundry become an industry standard. 3D printing still hasn’t replaced traditional manufacturing methods at scale, but Foundry starts to make that seem more possible on a nearer time frame.