Apr 22, 2014

Topolabs developing non-layered 3d printing software

Current FDM 3d printers print in layers which comes with certain limitations and aesthetics.  Topolabs is developing software that will enable 3d printing freed from constrains of layered printhead paths. Filament will travel in more organic shapes in all 3 dimensions. It will also enable more curved graphical and decorative surface elements printed directly on the object.

TopoLabs initial software suite will include:

  • Strength Designer: By printing 3D paths instead of flat layers, you can easily orient the "grain" to your part's inherent shape. Woodworkers have aligned the grain to the task for thousands of years. Now your printer can too. 
  • Flexible Part Designer: Easily create flexible, fabric-like structures. Many products that would typically be made of thick canvas, nylon fabric or leather can now be 3D printed directly in engineering polymers. With some of the new elastomer and advanced material filaments available the possibilities are endless. 
  • Aesthetics & Line Art: start with any sketch or photo and your printer can create beautiful line art on 2D and 3D surfaces of parts. Think of it like embroidery or 3D graphics you can apply to many types of surfaces. 
  • Layer Locking for even more strength: When you do need flat layers, lock them together. Topolabs layer locking tools interconnect adjacent layers using transverse rays to eliminate cleavage planes so your parts won't split. Finally really useful parts in all three directions.

Here is an example of different technology how more organic fractal algorithms can decrease wight and increase the strength of 3d printed object: