"It's your thing, do what you wanna do."
— "It's Your Thing," The Isley Brothers, 1969.
Is this your situation?
- You want to design a thing.
- You want to 3D print your thing.
- You want your thing to be made of the right materials — more than one material.
- You want your design to use as little material as possible because 3D print resins can be expensive.
- Despite your desire to minimize materials, you still want your thing to be strong enough to perform its function.
What to do? What to do?
Well, one thing you could do is try Project Monolith. Project Monolith is our free technology preview of a voxel-based modeling engine for multimaterial 3D printing.
What's a voxel, you say? "Hey Pat Sajak, I'd like to buy a voxel." No, that's for a vowel, not a voxel. A voxel is the equivalent of a three-dimensional pixel. The word voxel is short for volumetric pixel. Much like a pixel, which describes the attributes (like color) of an element within a larger composition (an image); a voxel can describe attributes about a physical location within a 3D volume. These attributes can include information about its material properties, density, color, and more.
What's multimaterial 3D printing you say? As the hype about 3D printing is almost everywhere, you know that 3D printing is just a form of additive manufacturing where an object is built up a layer at a time. As its name suggests, multimaterial 3D printing just involves using that process with more than one material. Often this is done with a rigid material and a flexible material to make a variety of things.
With Project Monolith, you design your thing by working with voxels. So why is this important, you ask? Up until now, almost all 3D CAD applications have been built on a boundary representation paradigm (BREP for short). While efficient and numerically accurate, BREPs are ill-equipped to manage variations in material distributions within a volume. Voxel-based design offers a new approach where objects can be defined as a dense representation of material properties. Project Monolith is a hybrid modeling environment. It gives you the ability to create designs that combine the intuitive geometric definitions of existing CAD with the fuzziness and fluidity of voxelized models. All of this means you now have greater control over how your designs will look, feel, and function. So, what happens when you want to actually build your design? Well, Project Monolith’s voxel-based representation fits perfectly within a new class of 3D printers which have multiple print heads capable of depositing different types of resin (e.g., plastic or rubber, clear or opaque, full color) within a single build volume. You are all set to do your thing to make your thing.
Here's your chance to try it for yourself.
In addition to being a technology preview on Autodesk Labs, Project Monolith also has its own site.
We look forward to your feedback on what's good, what's bad, and what's just plain ugly. You can reach us in the dedicated forums or email us at email@example.com.
Voxels are alive in the lab.