Improving pre-processing for rapid prototyping

Paul Boughton
Materialise is releasing a new version of its pre-processing software for the rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing industry. Magics 15 is a Windows 7-compatible version of Magics that aims to optimise core additive manufacturing software operations to help users work faster and smarter.
Magics is a core component of the Magics e-Solution Suite, which offers a range of integrated efficiency-boosting tools for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing setups. This new release of Magics features many enhancements to help speed up data conditioning, ease work preparation, improve support generation reliability and raise laser sintering productivity.
Enhanced import capabilities mean that Magics can now import almost any file format, which enables users to get straight to work with Google Sketchup 7.0, Solidworks and ACIS file formats. Data conditioning is also speeded up with some time-saving tools like the ability to detect thin or thick wall sections with a single click, and the facility to cut a part before having to fully repair it. Avi Cohen, head of medical solutions at Objet Geometries, comments: "You no longer have to spend time and effort repairing the complete part before being able to cut away the section that you need."
Magics 15 includes a range of new features to ease work preparation. For example, it is now possible to save hours in both CAD and post-processing work with the ability to make polyline cuts with integrated connector pins for easy post-build assembly. Clearance can also be added to Boolean and cut operations, which reduces the sanding time and effort required to produce accurate assemblies.
Laser sintering users also have plenty with which to be pleased about in Magics 15. Major advances are most prominent in the automated 3D packing tool Magics Smartspace. This intelligent utility now enables users to specify smaller part intervals for only the small components on a build platform. This allows the profitability of laser sintering to be enhanced by packing components tighter, enabling more components to be manufactured per build platform while maintaining excellent part surface quality of both small and large components, With Magics 15, Magics Smartspace also offers Sinterboxes, a convenient post-build grouping facility that generates a box around selected components that can then be produced on a laser sintering machine; reuniting parts while breaking down the build cake is therefore much easier and quicker.
The reliability of build supports moves up a level with Magics 15. First of all Magics 15 contains the build preview feature that uncovers all part and support details at slice level. Volume supports also become easier to remove during post-processing with the facility to fragment volume supports easily. This fragmentation of volume supports feature is useful for metal additive manufacturing users, as the fragmentation of metal supports lowers internal tensions inherent in the build process and reduces the chance of distortion.
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