3D Software

SPEE3D has announced a free-to-play metal 3D printing game

Cold spray 3D printer manufacturer SPEE3D has announced the launch of SPEE3DCraft, a free-to-download metal 3D printing simulator.

Set to launch this month, the game-like simulation software is designed to provide an inside look into the real-life metal additive manufacturing workflow, but in a virtual environment. Aimed at industry professionals and 3D printing enthusiasts alike, SPEE3DCraft can be used as a source of virtual experience, enabling individuals to experiment with SPEE3D’s 3D printers in an accessible manner.

Steven Camilleri, CTO and Co-Founder of SPEE3D, explains, “It looks like a game. It has level environments. A time challenge. But at the same time, it’s not really a game because this simulator shows what metal 3D printing actually involves. We are hoping this simulator will provide people a helpful insight into SPEE3D’s processes, how they can use it to benefit themselves and their own industry.”

Users will be tasked with 3D printing metal parts to earn points under timed conditions. Image via SPEE3D.
Users will be tasked with 3D printing metal parts to earn points under timed conditions. Image via SPEE3D.

What is cold spraying?

Cold spraying is the 3D printing technology used by SPEE3D’s proprietary 3D printers. The process involves spraying a metal powder onto a substrate, much like you’d spray paint onto a graffiti wall. The technique doesn’t rely on lasers or any other heat-based energy sources (hence the name) and leverages kinetic energy instead. The powder is jetted out using a high-velocity compressed gas stream, which gives the material enough energy to deform and bond to the solid part below, forming additional layers.

Virtual cold spraying with SPEE3DCraft

The simulation software is intended as a multi-level training platform for the cold spray 3D printing process. Users of SPEE3DCraft will be tasked with picking materials, as well as designing, printing, and post-processing metal parts with a first-person player view. The aim of the ‘game’ is to supply as many end-use components as possible under timed conditions.

SPEE3DCraft also allows users to operate in various virtual environments, such as the Australian outback, a ship deck, and a factory floor – all of which are real operating environments for SPEE3D’s technology.

The SPEE3DCraft boat level. Image via SPEE3D.
The SPEE3DCraft boat level. Image via SPEE3D.

Developed by the company’s own in-house team, the simulator has been reviewed by several additive manufacturing experts to ensure an authentic metal 3D printing experience. It was first envisioned at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, where global supply chains experienced major disruptions and the fragility of conventional manufacturing was exposed.

At the time, SPEE3D realized that there just weren’t that many opportunities for curious individuals to learn more about the 3D printing process and how it fits into modern manufacturing practices. This was especially true when it came to educational 3D printing games – simulators that emulated real-world workflows in an engaging and challenging fashion. With the aim of changing this, the SPEE3D team commenced the development of SPEE3DCraft.

The official trailer is set to be released shortly before the simulator’s launch. As it stands, SPEE3DCraft will be available to download for free from 16 April 2021.

The simulator will cover every aspect of the 3D printing workflow, including post-processing. Image via SPEE3D.
The simulator will cover every aspect of the 3D printing workflow, including post-processing. Image via SPEE3D.

SPEE3D in the defense sector

The company’s cold spray 3D printing technology has proven its applicability in the defense sector recently. Last year, the Australian Army carried out a field manufacturing test using the WarpSPEE3D additive manufacturing system. Taking place in various locations across the Australian Northern Territories, the three day trial demonstrated the efficacy of metal 3D printed parts during field training, as well as the system’s ability to operate in harsh conditions.

This was followed by a more recent second set of field exercises over the course of two weeks. The exercises saw Australian soldiers 3D printing end-use metal spare parts in stifling temperatures of up to 37°C.

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Featured image shows the SPEE3DCraft boat level. Image via SPEE3D.