Additive manufacturing is dependent as much on software as much it depends on the hardware. One important suite of software solutions is known as build preparation software. This kind of software is important to take the 3D model from a raw and unreadable design to a 3D printer readable and successfully printable file.
The build preparation software suites now also incorporate data & machine learning for better parameter prediction for implementing them in the 3D printers. Here, we take a look at some of the leading metal additive manufacturing build preparation software being used globally.
If you are new to metal 3D printing, then do check out our introductory article on Getting started with metal 3D printing to understand the complete ecosystem.
Leading Build Preparation Software
Magics by Materialise
Materialise Magics is one of the earliest and most powerful data and build preparation software used by the industry. The company, Materialise, is Europe’s leading rapid prototyping service bureau and has been in the industry since its very inception in 1990. For more than four decades the Belgian company has accumulated vast experience with the additive manufacturing industry which it leverages to provide various solutions to its customers.
Materialise Magics software, developed in the early 1990s, is, figuratively, the backbone of the industry. It is widely used as it is a powerful tool which augments the build preparation and eventually the printing output. The data preparation and STL editor software for Additive Manufacturing that allows users to convert files to STL, repair errors, edit your design and even prepare the build platform.
- Edits & enhances the CAD files
- Multiple import data types and formats
- Prepares the build platform
- Generates reports
QuantAM by Renishaw
Renishaw, one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology company from UK, has a proprietary build preparation software called QuantAM, for use in its metal additive manufacturing systems.
The file preparation software tool has an intuitive workflow and easy user interface. The software CAD files in .STL format and helps in file preparation for the AM process.
As mentioned QuantAM is specifically designed to suit Renishaw’s AM systems thus allowing for tighter control over the printing process resulting in accurate and successful prints everytime. It rapidly reviews all build files for Renishaw AM systems, including those from third party packages.
The QuantAM software can also be used as a tool to guide your Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) process.
- Importing .STL files
- Part orientation & adding support structures
- Material development module with .CSV data import for materials development arrays
- Rapid review of geometry and laser tool path slice-by-slice
- Review of discrete laser exposures within each slice
EOSPRINT 2 by EOS
EOSPRINT 2, a build preparation software for industrial 3D printing by EOS – a German metal additive manufacturing systems manufacturer, offers an intuitive, open and productive data preparation tool designed to assign and optimize build parameters for CAD data.
The EOSPRINT 2 software traces the accurate laser path during the part build process thereby influencing tensile strength, surface finish, and build speed of the printed part. The parameters can be adjusted for each build and hence high part quality every single time.
By combining with software like SIEMENS NX or Materialise Magics, it offers an extensive AM CAM environment for engineers who want to fully leverage the benefits of Additive Manufacturing with production-ready design.
- New plane segmentation significantly increase printing speeds
- New exposure strategies enable unseen part quality at lowest cost per part
- Open EOS ParameterEditor module allows even greater freedom for application-specific parameter optimization
- AM CAM environment for engineers
- Easy automatic geometry and position-driven dosage quantity of material
EOSPRINT 2 is available for EOS metal additive manufacturing systems like EOS M 290, EOS M 400 and EOS M 400-4.
3DXpert All-in-one Integrated Software by 3D Systems
3D Systems, the pioneer in 3D printing, has developed its own integrated software for build preparation called as 3DXpert. This software module is an all-in-one software to prepare, optimize and manufacture 3D CAD models using additive manufacturing (AM).
It supports the entire additive manufacturing workflow from design to post-processing. It also streamlines the process so as to quickly and efficiently transition from a 3D model to a successfully printed part.
It eliminates the need to use multiple software to get the work done. A single software can import part data, position the part, optimize the geometry and lattice creation, create optimal supports, simulate printing and post-processing to verify the final part will match design intent, set printing strategies, calculate the scan-path, arrange the build platform, send parts to print, and even program machining of the final product when necessary.
- All-in-one integrated AM software
- History-based AM software
- The only AM software supporting hybrid modelling without conversion
- Unmatched speed to create, edit and view lattice structures
- Patent pending 3D zoning technology to define virtual volumes
- Unprecedented control over manufacturing process parameters
AMBuilder & AMOptoMet by Intech Additive Solutions
AMBuilder is an integrated cloud-software by Intech Additive Solutions – a leading metal additive manufacturing service providers from India. AMBuilder is a build preparation software which helps in pre-printing stage for adjusting various parameters while printing.
The user has to just upload the STL files in the software and the software automatically carries out all necessary steps to make the file ready to print. The important steps include data correction, orientation, support generation, and running simulations for distortion.
Intech Additive Solutions also offers another proprietary software called AMOptoMet. AMOptoMet is a predictive software which enhances the capabilities of Powder-bed Metal additive manufacturing systems. The cutting-edge data-driven additive manufacturing (AM) software analyses the correlation between the various additive manufacturing process criteria’s and the actual material performance in reality. This helps in accurately predicting the printing parameters to be implemented in 3D printers.
Both, AMBuilder & AMOptoMet, are India’s first indigenously built proprietary software by Intech Additive Solutions. The next-inline developments for AMOptoMet are AMOptoDense, AMOptoTherm, Heat Treatment, & Powder Management.
- It provides a high degree of accuracy assisting prediction of parameters for powder bed systems. It eliminates months and years of experimenting and understanding of AM build technology. This cutting-edge software is truly remarkable, and can do Forerunner prediction, transposition & machine learning.
- It constantly improves its output accuracy and reduces the requirement for data needed for new builds. The path-breaking software has now entered the second phase of its development and now AMOptoMet will receive value enhancements courtesy of the integrated hardware products.
The article gave you a detailed overview of the top metal 3D printing build preparation software suites that industry leading companies provide. Companies, yet, do not offer interoperable software, especially for metal 3D printing. This is a genuine concern as the technology is constantly evolving and considering the huge capital investment in machines and software, companies do not want to compromise the part quality, reliability, and repeatability.
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