Fraunhofer IGD & Stratasys working on future 3D printing software enhancements

Fraunhofer IGD has announced it is working with Stratasys on future software enhancements after optimising its Cuttlefish 3D printer driver for Stratasys PolyJet technology.

Having supported PolyJet 3D printing systems since 2017 via the GrabCAD Voxel Print interface, Fraunhofer IGD has improved its existing algorithms, while also adding new ones, to generate prints with better geometric and colour accuracy at lower costs.

Fraunhofer has been working to develop software that can work with multiple print materials simultaneously to ‘exactly reproduce the geometry and colours of the original and to simulate the printout on the screen in advance’ since 2014. Since it began working with Stratasys four years ago, the organisation says it has helped to produce hundreds of thousands of high-quality PolyJet 3D prints for customers operating in a range of industries.

Read moreFamous Faces – How LAIKA is pushing the boundaries of 3D printing for animation

Fraunhofer believes Cuttlefish is the ‘perfect basis for 3D printing research’, suggesting researchers can use the plug-in functionality to integrate their own methods and software components into the Cuttlefish workflow, while Animation studio LAIKA’s application of the software has been well documented. The company successfully combined Cuttlefish with Stratasys’ J750 full colour 3D printer to produce more than 100,000 facial expressions for the characters of the Golden Globe-winning feature film Missing Link. Each expression was highly detailed and required many different colour gradations, with each shade matching that of the preceding image.

“When it’s an issue of optimisation for mass production, specific colour requests or degrees of translucency, nesting or individual colour calibration, that’s where we come in,” commented Phillip Urban, Head of 3D Printing Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD. “Our collaborative partnership [with Stratasys] has been designed for the long term, with the aim of enabling Stratasys customers to fully exploit the technical potential of their printers.”

“We’ve been using 3D printers in stop-motion productions since Coraline, the first move made at LAIKA. For our latest movie, Missing Link, we used Fraunhofer IGD technologies because they allow for unique colour consistency and geometric accuracy,” added LAIKA Director of Rapid Prototype Brian McLean. “By combining the Cuttlefish software with the Stratasys J750 Series 3D printers, we were able to create the most complex colour 3D printed surfaces ever produced.”

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