software can’t keep up with all the materials that could be used in AM to, for example, make a material like human bone, make a bird’s beak or make a prototype of a baby’s heart for a surgeon to practice on, Lipson said. “Computer-aided engineering [CAE] analysis tools are

not keeping up with the capabilities of additive manufac- turing,” he said. “If they don’t change, new companies will come around with new software and eat their lunch.” America Makes and the more recently established Flex- ible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute, aka NextFlex, recently put out calls for better software to support electronic 3D printing. “They are starting to ask the intelligent questions, such

as ‘Who is going to bring this software together?’,” Church said. “We have a few companies we are working with right now to get them to talk to each other, or at a minimum talk to each other through us.” Several companies, including nScrypt, Autodesk, Solid-

Works, CDS, Boeing and Raytheon, appear to be willing to come to the table to engage in “coopetition,” he said. For example, Autodesk is offering more optimization

tools within its software, such as with Fusion 360, and for simulation with the upcoming release of Netfabb 2017, said Duann Scott, business development manager, Autodesk Digital Manufacturing Group. “We have been collaborating and competing with a number of companies in this business,” Church said. “We need each other to help push this industry forward. We are optimistic and this is not bad. What is bad is to over-prom- ise and under-deliver. This hurts the industry. We must show that we can make electronically functional structures that bring value.”

Tackling parametric modeling, validation “One major challenge is getting from an optimized shape

to a smoothed out part without a lot of manual interaction,” solidThinking’s Kroeger said. “A lot of CAD programs have very little ability to edit tessellated geometry [repeating a shape with no overlaps or gaps].” Early this year, solidThinking added polynurbs capabil-

ity to its Inspire platform that enables users to modify a design file to transition directly to solid geometry from tes- sellated geometry, he said. This is critical, he said, because it is very tedious and time consuming—if not impossible— to model optimized organic surfaces using parametric modeling techniques. Simulating the printed object earlier in the design pro- cess will help advance the industry.

With most current software, the object to be printed isn’t simulated until the final steps, Kroeger said. “I have always preached design validation,” he said. “But the earlier in the design process a company can use simula- tion, the more value they can get from it.” “We can see parallels with the adoption of digital pho-

tography,” said Ulf Lindhe, business development lead for AM at Autodesk. “With traditional analog photography, there was typically a one-day to one-week delay between when you took the photo and when you saw the results. With that, understanding aperture, film speed, composi- tion, depth of field took trial and error, with a significant delay between the act and the feedback. This is where we are today with design for manufacturing.” “Once digital photography became widely adopted, peo-

ple would take a photo, see it immediately on their screen, adjust settings, take another shot and quickly learn how to take better photographs,” he said. “Now the gap between amateur and professional photography is very small. This is how we’re now approaching design for additive manufac- turing, with simulation and optimization as an area of focus to help with enabling faster iteration and incorporating the exact machine and material parameters into the design file.” Print validation tools are essential to improve the

process, Rushton said. “Will this part fit on my printer? Have I got features too

small to actually print? Those are the kind of checks we need before we send it to print,” he said. “But every AM system works in different ways, and each machine has its own varia- tion on materials. That makes it difficult to have a static set of checks to cover all technologies. This variation amplifies the complexity when it comes to simulating the physical perfor- mance of a design before you print it.” Even on the same machine, “You can build one part in the middle of the build chamber and it will experience different residual stresses compared with a part built in a different place,” Rushton said. “The software has to be very complicated to know all the outputs. We have the capability within the Dassault Systemes portfolio. We can do the calculations. But it’s knowing what figures to put in to start with, which is the difficult part. So many parameters can affect the final part’s performance and they all need to be known so the entire build process can be simulated in order to simulate the performance of the built part.” Achieving these milestones will help shorten the design

process. “To better create a design optimized for a specific


Fall 2016

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