Carbon announced a new version of its 3D printing software that expands its tools to design, engineer and make polymeric parts using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) technology and resins. With this software release, Carbon now offers a variety of tools that enable customers to print parts easily and successfully the first time, optimize supports for material usage, and minimize post-processing. These new software tools are backed by finite element analysis (FEA), a powerful cloud-based computational technique that simulates the forces of DLS.
In this latest software update, customers can expect:
- Advanced auto supports: This cloud-powered feature analyzes customers’ parts and helps ensure successful printing in the first iteration. It also helps customers understand where a specific part may need more support, aiding in the design of a manual support strategy.
- New fence supports: Fence supports can be used to support edges so they print with precision, minimize material usage, and produce parts with minimal support artifacts.
- Fast and secure simulations: Simulations require a significant amount of computing power, which can often result in a slow process. Carbon uses a secure, cloud-based computing architecture that substantially speeds up the simulation, from days to hours.
“Carbon is often recognized for its innovations in hardware and materials science, but our software is what enables all of these pieces to work together seamlessly,” said Roy Goldman, Director of Software at Carbon. “Carbon’s software creates a digital canvas on which every cubic millimeter of a part can be designed, controlled, and optimized before its printed. We’ve built this software from the ground up, providing our customers with a comprehensive view of the design process that helps ensure a part performs as desired, and enables fast printing and easy post-processing. These new FEA-backed automated support tools are the first of their kind and take our software to a whole new level.”
Since the release of Carbon’s first 3D printer, the M1, in April 2016, the company has been using its modern software to bring its hardware and materials together into a powerful, easy-to-use, digital-first manufacturing system. Developed by some of the greatest engineering minds in Silicon Valley – hailing from innovative leaders like Tesla and Google – this cloud-connected approach allows Carbon to integrate all of its unit operations and offerings, and the every-six-week release updates continually optimize customers’ hardware to help ensure peak performance and streamline the introduction of new resins.
Additionally, some of the key overarching features of Carbon’s software include:
- Software-controlled chemical reaction of the printing process: Complex physics and chemistry models are already built into the software, so the printer knows, for example, how to print complex fluidics parts versus a midsole for an adidas Futurecraft 4D shoe. This software-driven intelligence helps customers iterate rapidly, from design to prototyping to production stage.
- Algorithmic design: With the assistance of Carbon’s software, designers can create internal lattice structures, and add aesthetic and functional textures.
- Printer profiles: Carbon printers come with multiple printer profiles, which are optimized for production speed and repeatability. Customers can also focus on producing a successful print in a broad range of geometries.
- Provenance: For most customers, it is critical to know the full lineage of a produced part. With Carbon, everything is digitally traceable, down to a unique ID that can automatically be engraved or embossed on any part. This unique ID can be used to identify the digital historical record of the part, including the specific printer, resin, and even post-processing protocols that were involved in making that part.
- Fleet management: Meaningful production volumes at scale can rarely be achieved using just one or two printers. For final production to happen at scale, manufacturers need an easy way to install and manage multiple printers or SpeedCell™ operations. From real-time dashboards to aggregate data and reports, to an API that enables integration with existing business systems, Carbon’s sophisticated printer software platform supports fleet management of printers or SpeedCell™ operations more broadly than any other solution on the market.
“Carbon’s core technology is enabling new business models that inherently need new software,” said Carbon CEO and co-founder, Dr. Joseph DeSimone. “Printing parts on demand, re-purposing a fleet of machines to print a range of parts daily or even hourly, local production for local markets — these are all challenges big manufacturing and ERP companies have talked about for years, but progress has largely been stagnant because the underlying technology hasn’t existed. Carbon is changing the game by solving each of these problems head on, moving beyond prototyping to real-world production at scale.”