6/20/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Type A Machines’ Absolute 3D Internal Structures

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New strategies for Cura Type A software will help create better internal structures for 3D-printed parts.

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Type A Machines, a manufacturer of fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers, has announced Absolute Dimensions and 3D Internal Structures, two new capabilities in the public beta release of Cura Type A 1.5, available for download via the company’s website. Designed to work in concert, these new methodologies are said to lead to parts that meet specified material and structural characteristics more accurately over previous methods.

“Thinking of a part’s internal geometry as infill is to fundamentally misunderstand the role of internal structure in a 3D printed part,” said Andrew Rutter, Type A Machines founder and CTO. “It is akin to ignoring more than half the object. The term ‘infill’ is inaccurate. We need to understand it for what it truly is, internal structure.”

According to Type A Machines, typical practice in fused filament additive manufacturing has been to use percentages  to specify the density of a printed part, but with no common standard for converting percentages into density, significant differences in output exist across various products. In addition, infill is typically built up from a simple 2D pattern repeated on each layer. As a result, engineers, manufacturers, and 3D printer operators cannot accurately predict the mechanical characteristics of the printed part, leading most to over-engineer in an effort to meet strength requirements—a practice that consumes time and wastes material, the company says.

Rather than creating a standard formula for converting percentage to volume, Type A Machines has developed Absolute Dimensions, a method of defining an interior structure using millimeters. According to the company, this change in approach to internal structure is a key controllable aspect of a 3D part’s geometry.

In conjunction with Absolute Dimensions, the company’s 3D Internal Structures strategy adds a true 3D isotropic structure throughout an object, rather than a 2D infill. The structure is an infinitely repeating tessellating cubic lattice, providing isotropic strength (equal in all directions), predictable print times, reliable results, and more predictable and consistent part performance, the company says. 

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