Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3D Printing Just Made Easy

Today’s guest blog was contributed by Alexandra Yessios, VP of Sales & Marketing, AutoDesSys.

It may be a little known fact, but AutoDesSys was the first company to support the .zpr file format to facilitate 3D printing with Z Corp's printers. As a matter of fact form.Z was the first 3D software that used the technology to send these files. Reading in one of the blogs that a certain 3D program is a "great receptacle", one cannot help wonder why, in the decade we live in, such a "receptacle" should even be necessary? The answer of course is obvious: Because most 3D programs can't handle the data at the level required by a 3D printer. What is even more troublesome is that many professionals consider this normal, being led by software companies to believe that this is the state of the art. All this means good business for the service firms that are hired to translate 2D and 3D data to the solid data that 3D printers require. Economic downturn undoubtedly can be blamed for affecting this business. But at the same time one cannot help wondering how much of this can be attributed to the effect that savvy customers are creating, as they become better educated and learn to use the 3D programs that actually support 3D printing directly.

About a year ago AutoDesSys introduced a new modeler, bonzai3d. bonzai3d is the younger sibling of form.Z, aimed at conceptual design, but it is packed with enough power and robust geometry to model just about anything. This also means that the models it produces are ready for 3D printing from the outset and not as an afterthought. Everything in bonzai3d is readily editable (parametric) and fluently changeable through real-time Booleans and live sections, so that quick conceptual sketches can easily evolve into detailed and finished models. At any time during this process objects can be 3D printed as physical models become more and more indispensable parts of the design process.

While all this seemed like a dream only 15 years ago, today 3D printing is both affordable and accessible largely thanks to printers offered by Z Corp. It has been a pleasure to work alongside and closely with Z Corp. to become the first company to support color 3D printing when it was first introduced in the industry not too long ago. The rest is up to choices: state of the art software should be used for state of the art hardware to get a no hassle job accomplished!