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The German 3D printing software supplier netfabb has released the new Support Structures add-on to the netfabb 6 suite of software for 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. The focus of generation 6 is set upon simplifying and improving 3D printing processes on an industrial scale. In this context, the new add-on is specially designed for the advanced support generation for Selective Laser Melting, Stereolithography, and DLP technology.

The new add-on empowers netfabb Professional 6 to easily add support lattices and structures to parts in additive manufacturing. This happens by creating bar support structures and adjusting the anchor points between the part and the platform as needed. This ensures that the full productive capability of AM machines using Selective Laser Melting, Stereolithography, and DLP technology can be utilized.

The netfabb support structures add-on comes in two variants: netfabb DLP Support Structures is designed specifically for manufacture on Digital Light Processing (DLP) machines, and netfabb Enhanced Support Structures for manufacture on machines using Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Stereolithography (SLA), and FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling).

Three general types of support structures can be chosen as required by the part's geometry: bar support, polyline support, and full volume support. A huge number of features and options grants full flexibility to the designer. For example, different types of support structures can be combined on the same model, to different part areas, and to different angles. If needed, even curved and ramified bars that look like tree branches can be created. Polyline support allows not only to build a simple thin or thick wall support but a structured wall, just by a few clicks. And last but not least, volume support extends the polyline support by an additional dimension, offering 37 different settings in total.

More practical features like a transparent part view and an overview list of all used support entities ready to re-use will help to ease the designer's workload. Very useful is also the automatic downskin analysis of data models to determine which areas do require some support.

Currently, manufacturing is subject to a fundamental paradigm change. Many companies consider introducing additive manufacturing for their business. “In this period of important change, netfabb Professional 6 has the potential to lift additive manufacturing to an unprecedented level of volume manufacturing”, explains Ulf Lindhe, Director of Business Development at netfabb. “Risk reduction, easy maintenance, process reliability, and a whole lot of time savings are the keywords to describe the benefits of using netfabb software.” With the add-on netfabb Selective Space Structures (3S), innovative products using complex structures can be created. Also new is netfabb Enterprise 6 which comes with a cost-saving server licensing model.

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