3D models that fail to print are one of the more frustrating issues for designers, engineers, jewellers and 3D service bureaus. Despite all the discussion about how easy it is to 3D print your design, the fact is that there are gaps among software programs used in 3D printing, and time consuming manual intervention is often needed to ensure a good print.
Companies are coming out with software programs, often in the form of drivers that ensure a specific 3D printer has the right CAD data it needs. One of the latest companies developing software for this need is LimitState, which released a new software application, LimitState:FIX, that automatically fixes 3D model files.
LimitState:FIX uses the Polygonica technology from engineering software technology firm MachineWorks. It delivers a ‘one click’ automatic fix for 3D STL files, enabling them to be accurately printed.
When the user opens an STL file in LimitState:FIX, the file is analyzed, and then automatically fixed. Specifically, LimitState:FIX repairs holes in solids and fixes defective mesh files. It closes solids, fixes polygon orientation, removes self-intersections and noise shells, and ensures the geometry is manifold.
In testing with customers, LimitState:FIX performed significantly better than other tools for challenging 3D models. Some tools will report that they have fixed issues in a file, when actually errors still remain that prevent printing. In contrast, LimitState:FIX will address these issues and will almost always enable printing. The tool is particularly useful for 3D service bureaus, whose designers spend much of their time fixing client STL files.
LimitState:FIX is already in use by the Mercury Centre, which specializes in printing metallic parts for the automotive and aerospace industries. The company is using the software to fix errors in customers’ 3D files that other tools cannot fix. For fast turnaround jobs this can be a lifesaver. Everth Hernandez Nava commented “I spent many hours trying to manually fix a model with other professional tools, but LimitState:FIX did the job in under a minute.”
LimitState Managing Director Matthew Gilbert commented, “LimitState:FIX will fix almost all 3D files and ensure they print. It complements the existing 3D design and engineering tools out there very well. LimitState:FIX adds a new level of model fixing capability. It’s a dedicated fixing tool, designed to do one thing really well, using the unique Machineworks’ Polygonica tool set.”
“LimitState:FIX shows just how much scope there is for enhancing 3D software using our technology,” said Polygonica Marketing Manager Cristina Sesma. “Users can fix many problems fast with this software; it’s a game changer for busy 3D printers, whether they are service bureaus, engineers or designers. We’ve got 20 years of experience in 3D engineering and manufacturing software and it’s great to bring this technology into the mainstream 3D printing market.”
You can obtain a free demo of the software that will show how it fixes models, but which will not allow files to be saved for subsequent printing. This can be downloaded from: http://print.limitstate.com.
The full software is competitively priced. For bureaus and enterprises it costs £2,999 ($3,830) per user for a perpetual license. For small design and engineering firms and end users it is just £499 ($637) per user.