Autodesk announced additional capabilities for its Netfabb additive manufacturing product at Autodesk University, held in Las Vegas this week. Enhancements include cloud-based simulation, subtractive workflows, and collaborative, multi-head 3D printing.
The updates will formally be available at the end of November.
Autodesk released Netfabb 2017 in September, a manufacturing solution that allows additive manufacturers to move from CAD design to finished part. The product helps manufacturers improve material selection, simulate and validate build strategies, optimize design, and drive machines, said Carl Bass, Autodesk chief executive officer.
Netfabb includes cloud-based simulation capabilities, built on technology from Pan Computing, recently acquired by Autodesk, to help customers to predict and adjust for deformation. Simulation allows designers and manufacturing engineers to optimize designs and reduce the number of iterations required for reliable build results, Bass said.
The product also now includes solid modeling and near-net shape planning capabilities based on Autodesk PowerShape technology (formerly from Delcam).
Subtractive manufacturing processes are often required to improve the surface finish and accuracy of features on additively manufactured parts. Extra material must be added to the original design to accommodate these subtractive processes, creating a larger geometry referred to as the near-net shape.
The Netfabb hybrid manufacturing function allows visibility of the original model and the near-net shape as it is built to allow for the subtractive processes, Bass said. It also lets users keep models in solid form and is aligned with CAM workflows.
Also included in the update is technology from Project Escher, a control technology that powers machines with multiple extrusion-based print heads working together to print a single part. This collaborative 3D printing process makes printing industrial scale parts with greater speed and detail possible, Bass said.
The company is also open-sourcing the hardware specifications and the software required to create machines that include the collaborative 3D printing capability. By doing so, hardware vendors will be able to create multi-head printers that can print parts faster than conventional single-head printers, he added.
Also at Autodesk University, Autodesk announced a line-up of new Fusion 360 capabilities that users can look forward to in the coming months. We talked about some of these in yesterday’s post, but this post will offer a little more depth.
Capabilities in the Fusion 306, which ties together design, analysis, and manufacturing for an end-to-end engineering and design solution now includes:
- Generative design: New in this update, designers can input criteria such as weight, size or cost, and allow computer algorithms to generate design-geometries that fit those constraints. Updates will come in stages, starting with shape optimization as seen in this current release, with structural latticing to follow.
- Browser availability: Through mobile and browser functionality, there are no limitations to where, when, and on which device a product developer can access their design data and work on their projects.
- Electrical CAD: With Fusion 360’s upcoming ECAD functionality, printed circuit board integration becomes nearly seamless.
- Sheet metal: Sheet metal capabilities will soon be available so users can flange, flatten and fold as needed.
Autodesk University continues through Thursday. Look to this space for continuing coverage and event wrap-up.
Filed Under: 3D CAD World, 3D printing • additive manufacturing • stereolithography