Creating complex geometric models for the automotive, aviation, and biomedical industries
Haikuan Zhu and Zichun Zhong are academic researchers from Computer Modeling and Imaging Visualization Lab at Wayne State University’s (WSU) Computer Science Department. They have been working in geometric modeling and digital designing for more than 12 years. WSU’s recent research has involved manufacturing 3D objects with complex geometric structures and mechanical properties for real-world scenarios in automobile, aerospace, biomedical, and other industries.
Additive manufacturing (AM), a.k.a. 3D printing, enables the layer-by-layer fabrication of physical objects from digital models. AM processes are touted to reduce lead times and enable greater design freedom. That said, reducing the material used in 3D printing is an important problem and has not been well studied due to its high cost and complicated design.
Optimizing material usage
WSU’s research team developed a material-saving software solution consisting of computing a volumetric hollowing of a shape’s interior under stress and with some exterior force constraints. The goal is to produce parts with less material and without compromising on strength.
As a result, WSU’s optimized digital 3D models feature complex geometrical and topological structures. However, such models are a real challenge for FDM-based 3D printers, requiring complex support structures and offering low accuracy.
WSU and the Lisa PRO
Wayne State University bought Sinterit’s Lisa PRO around six months ago to overcome this challenge, as their FDM-based 3D printer could no longer meet their needs in terms of print quality. They needed a state-of-the-art SLS 3D printing methodology to fabricate hollow structures. WSU chose the Lisa PRO solution, the most powerful and recent SLS 3D printer with a compact footprint and easy workflow.
|Build volume||7.8 L|
|Build size||150 × 200 × 260 mm5.91 × 7.87 × 10.24 in|
|Dimensions||690 × 500 × 880 mm27.17 × 19.69 × 34.65 in|
|Weight||90 kg198.42 lb|
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
|$ 17,99011 990 €13,939 £1,894,941 ¥|
The Lisa PRO offers significantly higher quality prints than FDM 3D printers. Thanks to this dramatic upgrade, WSU researchers were able to quickly solve their problem: to print high-quality interior structures with high accuracy, without requiring notoriously complex support structures.
Since their lightweight, hollow structures have intricate topologies and geometries, the need for high printing accuracy is very demanding. WSU can use the Lisa PRO to fabricate their test models because the printer offers high accuracy while requiring no supporting structures.
Further benefits of using the Lisa PRO include ultra-smooth print surfaces achieved before any post-processing, and, secondly, the fact that the loose, remaining powder can be totally removed and reused with the help of a sandblaster.