Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria have developed a software system to design functional, mechanical objects for 3D printing. The software allows users to create and redesign fully 3D printed objects with the use of mechanical templates and desired shapes.
The researchers collaborated with Adobe Research to develop the software system which is set to be presented this summer at the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles. American software company Adobe has already made steps into 3D software and recently launched its cloud based software platform, Project Felix to combine 2D and 3D images.
Flexibility of design
The researchers explain that makers can easily find files for 3D printable mechanical objects but cannot so easily change or manipulate the designs for different purposes or different shapes.
Gif shows the altering of the truck’s inner mechanics. Images via IST Austria.
Reusing mechanical shapes
Co-author Thomas Auzinger explains how the software unlocks design potential,
Given a car model, there is usually one kind of mechanism that provides the functionality and, at the same time, thousands of different shapes that the car can have. Our code bridges this gap and makes it possible to reuse the mechanism across all shapes. It allows for flexibility.
Freedom of design
It’s not just for customizing existing designs either, the authors explain the software is also suitable for designing objects from scratch with a mechanical template. Lead author, Ran Zhang explains the tool “guarantees functionality, while artists can adjust the mechanical template to fit the design of their choice,”
Even novice users will be able to create a functional model from the shape of their choice.
The paper, titled ‘Functionality-aware Retargeting of Mechanisms to 3D Shapes’ has since been published and can be found here. Working on the research was Ran Zhang, Thomas Auzinger and Professor Bernd Bickel from IST Austria. Adobe Research’s Wilmot Li and Duygu Ceylan were also involved in developing the software.
Featured image shows the process of designing with the software. Image via IST Austria.