Over the last 10 to 15 years, huge advances have been made in 3D printing technology.
Much like computers and other electronic devices, these amazing machines which were once all big, heavy, and very expensive have become a lot more accessible. As we travel around the country visiting clients, we are starting to see them popping up on more and more design office desks.
Autodesk has been no slouch in this field. Through a lot of internal R&D, they launched the Autodesk Spark program to foster the development of new 3D printing technologies and devices.
This program provides open-source hardware and software to manufacturers who want to produce their own 3D printers. A number of impressive companies such as Dremel and HP have signed up, and some of them have already produced commercial products using Spark technology. It’s also worth noting, that Microsoft Windows 10 ships with Spark technology on board. While there is not a lot using it just yet, this technology will allow Windows to talk to these devices in the future. If you have a 3D printer, you might want to check out the following products from Autodesk, which aim to make your 3D printing experience easier, and more productive.
Autodesk Inventor 2016 now has 3D printing support built in.
You’ll find this on the “Environments” tab. This allows you to position, split, and set up various options to get your model ready for 3D printing.
Autodesk Print Studio – You can find the link to download this in Inventor 2016 in the 3D print environment mentioned above. This clever tool will automatically optimise the position and rotation of the model for best printing results. This is a free utility which can be run standalone as well.
While most of sub $5000 desktop printers can only produce fairly small components from relatively weak materials at present, we watch with anticipation as the more sophisticated technologies get cheaper and cheaper. How long will it be before we have printers capable of producing titanium and stainless steel parts on our desks? 5 years?
View what Artist in Residence at Autodesk P9 Workshop have been doing with 3D Printers and Autodesk Software.