Autodesk has developed a new generative design software that works directly with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers. The design-to-print workflow for additive manufacturing was designed specifically for HP’s 3D printers, with the goal of streamlining the conversion of digital design to physical part.
“The HP multi-jet fusion printers are changing the value equation when it comes to 3D printing for production. The plastic printers are now becoming cost-efficient versus injection molding for part counts in excess of 10,000 parts,” said Robert Yancey, Director of Manufacturing Industry Strategy at Autodesk. “The new metal printers promise to have similar value benefits compared to metal injection molding. HP is helping move the additive manufacturing market from prototyping to production applications.
“HP multi-jet fusion printers promise higher volumes and higher customization than plastic printers that have been in the market for some time. To unlock the full value of HP MJF printers, you need a good design, a good material, and a good print process. Autodesk develops the design tools and technology, HP develops the print process, and HP with their material partners develops the materials. All aspects are required to achieve maximum efficiency.”
Penumbra Engineering is a generative design company that is a client of both Autodesk and HP. Not long ago, the company was asked by a client to design and 3D print a new ultrasonic sensing device with both accuracy and the durability to withstand use in extreme environments. Penumbra used Autodesk generative design software along with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers to create a lightweight, balanced design that met strict performance requirements and ensured stability and ease of use in the field.
“The Penumbra case study uncovers the value of HP working with Autodesk generative design technology,” said Yancey. “We’re supporting HP printers in Fusion 360 and Netfabb so that HP multi-jet fusion customers have the design and print prep tools they need. We’re working with HP to provide support for the new metal printers they recently announced.”
In addition to working with HP, Autodesk is also working with GE Additive to create an integrated workflow for GE 3D printers. The workflow will be based on the Fusion 360 platform and will connect all stages of the additive manufacturing process. Autodesk is using GE Additive software algorithms, interfaces and specialized data models to offer predictive insights. The workflow will also provide cost and timeline projections in the early stages of design so that engineers can make decisions without physically producing the parts first.
“Working with Autodesk will provide a powerful design-to-print environment for our customers, helping lower the barriers of additive adoption while accelerating a customer’s time to first good part,” said Lars Bruns, Software Leader at GE Additive.
GE and its customers currently have to use multiple software products and data formats to go from concept to 3D printed part, so the company wanted to develop a complete end-to-end workflow for its Direct Metal Laser Melting machines within Fusion 360.
“The GE and Autodesk collaboration has the goal of providing a single platform and environment for users to conceive of a part design using Fusion 360, which includes generative design,” said Yancey. “The platform will simulate that design, print the design, and capture all of the relevant print data to store with the design file so we have a single source of truth for each printed component.”
GE will share preliminary cost data to generative design studies so that users can compare cost variations between the options in addition to engineering and weight variations.
“This will significantly increase the value of generative design by giving users an environment to quickly assess both engineering and business tradeoffs for the many options generated,” said Yancey.