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New extension from 3MF Consortium supports volumetric design

Available in 0.5c with call for public feedback to the specification before it reaches 1.0

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The 3MF Consortium, the organization dedicated to advancing the universal 3MF specification for 3D printing, introduced a new Volumetric Design extension, which addresses the design of an object’s form and enables designers to add new types of elements to their designs. Manufacturers can also benefit by prototyping faster and saving costs. It’s currently available in 0.5, and today the Consortium is opening a call for public feedback to the specification before it reaches 1.0.

Volumetric Design provides an efficient approach to encode geometrical shapes and spatial properties that are based on a volume-based description. Whereas traditional and explicit modeling uses boundaries (e.g. NURBS, triangular meshes) to describe surfaces or bodies, volumetric modeling relies on a mathematical, field-based description of the whole volume of the object. The advantage of volumetric modeling is that it illustrates for the designer or manufacturer when properties of an object vary in space – such as with color and transparency gradients, objects inside other objects, color or material distribution and composition of an object variation. With the 3MF Volumetric Extension, all of this can be communicated from the designer to various software applications and finally to the 3D printer.

New extension from 3MF Consortium supports volumetric design, available in 0.5c with call for public feedback before it reaches 1.0.  “As the popularity of 3D printing continues to grow, Volumetric Design allows both designers and manufacturers to represent spatially diverse properties. This enables Additive Manufacturing technologies to live up to their full potential and truly revolutionize the way products are designed and made,” said Alex Oster, chairman of the 3MF technical working group and director of additive manufacturing at Autodesk.

The 3MF specification is robust and includes seven extensions that range from core and production to slice, material and property (including color), beam lattice, security and now the pre-release of the Volumetric Design extension for public feedback.

The 3MF format is slowly bur surely gaining adoption and the 3MF Consortium is reporting increasing adoption of its specification, evidenced by growing membership and number of products using 3MF. New members include Hexagon, Prusa, TechSoft3D and Vistory, who join 3D Systems, Autodesk, GE, HP, Materialise, Microsoft, nTopology, Stratasys, Siemens and others, totalling 20 member companies. 3MF has now been implemented in nearly 50 products across 38 companies.

“3MF is a great step towards enriching an otherwise unstructured geometry data exchange format for AM. We see the adoption of 3MF accelerating, and this is due in no small part to the ongoing development of specifications to meet new use cases. Volumetric Design is a perfect example of that,” said Mathieu Pérennou, Global Business Development Director Additive Manufacturing at Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “3MF is enabling evolution and innovation in 3D printing and only open standards and collaboration make that possible. We are thrilled to begin contributing to the specification and its extensions together with other leaders in the additive manufacturing industry.”

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Victor Anusci

Victor does not really exist. He is a pseudonym for several writers in the 3D Printing Media Network team. As a pseudonym, Victor has also had a fascinating made-up life story, living as a digital (and virtual) nomad to cover the global AM industry. He has always worked extra-hard whenever he was needed to create unique content. However, lately, as our editorial team has grown, he is mostly taking care of publishing press releases.

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