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October 2015

Make with Melting

3D printing is fairly common these days and it's also fairly easy to create digital shapes that are difficult to deal with. Sometimes you get support structures that are difficult to remove. Sometimes portions of the model are more fragile than expected due to the position of the 3D printed layers of material relative to applied forces.

Autodesk Research Meltables 3D Printing3D printing your models with hinge style joints and then melting the parts into place may help you get around these problems, as seen in the images below with the before and after state.

Autodesk Research MeltablesThese objects were printed in PLA and melted at 150°C. Gravity did the rest of the work.

This also works for larger scale object such as PVC piping as seen in the object below on the left.

Autodesk Research MeltablesYou can read more about the Meltables research project conducted by the Design and Fabrication group and see some of their results in the video below. At the end of the video you'll see a strength test showing that the melted object is stronger than the standard 3D printed object.

The Open Translation Project

Two years ago, Autodesk embraced Open Learning by releasing our learning resources with Creative Commons licensing. The Open Translation project takes this to the next level by allowing anyone to help translate video learning materials to additional languages.

autodesk open translation project

This project was developed by Judy Bayne from Autodesk's Media and Entertainment group. Judy participated in Autodesk's Idea Exploration Innovation Workshop, a program run by the Research team to help employees bring their great ideas to life. 

As a passionate educator, Judy says it's critical that our world-wide vision for learning requires that we reach out in many languages. To help with this, we’ve partnered with Amara, a collaborative translation platform, to add subtitles to videos.

Autodesk Open TranslationUsers can add subtitles to videos and collaborate to improve each other's translations. 

We would love if you take a look at the results or, even better, try the open translation project yourself

Robots 3D Printing a Bridge Designed with Dreamcatcher

The Dreamcatcher team is helping MX3D with their design for a bridge that will be 3d printed in place by robots.

Autodesk CEO Carl Bass says that one of the really cool things about this project is that it will happen in public - not behind closed doors in a lab. Doing this project in public makes it more complicated and risky which increases the chances of learning new things.

You can see the novel printing process that MX3D has developed below. They have a multi-axis industrial robot hooked up to a robot via custom software.

Before MX3D developed their metal printing process, they perfected a resin-based method. This super fast curing resin neutralizes the effect of gravity during the printing process - the structure keeps it shape without drooping or sagging.

This may take a couple years to complete but should be fun to watch.

The finished bridge may end up looking like this model made with Dreamcatcher. The organic, tree-like structure fits nicely into the natural environment of a park. 

Dreamcatcher teaming up with Lawrence Livermore National Lab on Material Science

ABC7 News in San Francisco put a nice story together on how the Dreamcatcher team is teaming up with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) on generative design and material science. The team at LLNL is working on printing materials 1/10th the width of a human hair. Together the teams are considering what this could do for bicycle helmets. 

You can read more about this story with Autodesk's In the Fold blog.

Designing for Advanced Manufacturing

Dr. Ryan Schmidt will be talking at the SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling on October 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Dr. Schmidt will be talking about Integrating Mesh-Based Modelling Techniques with Parametric CAD:

The growing use of additive manufacturing lifts many constraints on form imposed by CNC machining and injection molding, and has lead to a renewed interest in applying triangle meshes, voxels, and implicit surfaces in real-world CAD systems. However, such systems should inter-operate with legacy B-Rep CAD solid modeling tools. I will discuss our ongoing attempt to combine these two domains, relying on a combination of dynamic triangle meshes and variational mesh processing.