Software Prints the World

I have posted my journey so far in learning additive manufacturing. I started with the intention of understanding the materials, process and how the mechanical build configurations can affect 3D printing. As I progressed in my journey, I realized that software plays a greater role in leveraging these technologies in industry. Being an applied manufacturing researcher, I am more interested in applying my understanding of hardware and software for industrial 3D printing.

In my work, I started pushing for projects where you could combine software and hardware. In 2020, we got an European project called SoftDream, which is about developing software tools for hybrid robot based 3D printing for large scale industrial application. I am specifically looking at application of computational geometry algorithms and machine learning techniques to 3D printing process chain (Design, Simulation, Path Planning, Real time control and part quality inspection). Another challenge in the project is to integrate various components of software to give a seamless user experience.

In the past, I guided a student, Vishal, from KTH for his master’s thesis (Oct 2018) with focus on simulations for 3D printing. It is about the effect of various FDM parameters on the strength of a part. In the end he developed an optimization routine which gives the infill type, infill density and perimeters for a 3D model given displacement/stiffness criteria. It will give a good starting point while designing parts by FDM rather than the trial and error approach. Here is his Additive Manufacturing Thesis.

In another project which concluded in November 2019, we investigated about 3D printing of batteries using Direct Ink Writing principle. Though it was not a software project, I wanted to share this project with you because it presents an interesting use case – 3D printing of power sources. The project has a lot of challenges, but if the concept is demonstrated successfully in the future, it could be an indirect enabler for Internet of Things (IoT). The project funded by VINNOVA, a Swedish governmental agency supporting innovation. The public details of the project is at this link.

In my coming posts, I will share my experiences with you as I learn about software development for Additive Manufacturing. I might write about algorithms and machine learning techniques that interest me. I hope I will be able to post regularly in my blog and showcase my software projects.

As the famous VC Naval said, “You might not be in software business but eventually, a software will be in your business”


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