New simulation software takes guesswork out of 3D printing

Hayley Everett
The Onyx steering wheel and Markforged 3D printer. Image via Markforged.

3D printer manufacturer Markforged has announced the release of new Simulation features for its additive manufacturing software. Simulation is available as a free trial until April 2023, after which the company expects to make the feature accessible through a paid subscription.

Incorporating 3D printing into tooling and end-use applications requires confidence in part strength. By replacing slow and costly design, print and break testing cycles with virtual testing, Simulation can enable manufacturers to expand their use of additive manufacturing into the most demanding production applications.

Larsen Motorsports builds jet engine drag racing vehicles that hurtle past 280mph. But, stock aluminium steering wheels are shaped for much larger hands than those of rookie House of Kolor sponsored dragster driver, Josette Roach, putting safety and performance at risk. Larsen Motorsports used Simulation to design and print a Continuous Carbon Fiber reinforced Onyx steering wheel strong enough to replace aluminium.

"We can now test it with Simulation, iterate and keep iterating until we get a design we're happy with,” said Brian Tocci, Director of Operations, Larsen Motorsports. “We don't have to print ten different parts. We can do it all in Simulation."

Unlike traditional software tools that need specialised expertise and time-consuming analysis, Simulation is designed for additive manufacturing and works within Markforged's Eiger software slice and print workflow. Any user can validate part strength and stiffness through virtual testing by identifying anchor and load surfaces and then entering values for loads, factor of safety and maximum deflection. They can then optimise parts by automatically determining print settings for floors, walls, infill and fibre reinforcement to achieve print cost and speed goals while maintaining adequate strength.

“Simulation enables our customers to adopt The Digital Forge deeper into their manufacturing operations by replacing more mission critical tooling and end-use metal parts with validated and optimised 3D printed advanced composite parts with Continuous Fiber Reinforcement,” said Shai Terem, President and CEO of Markforged. “Cloud-based software innovation like Simulation is core to our mission to bring industrial part production to the point of need.”

Simulation is available worldwide today as a free trial for anyone with a Markforged Eiger account. Markforged will present “How simulation, in-process monitoring and inspection will drive the future of additive manufacturing" at Formnext on Friday, November 18th at 11:40 in Hall 12, Stand E38.

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