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3-D Print Yourself Something Big, Piece By Piece

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components of a chair

Chopper software automatically breaks up large 3-D models into components that can be made by a smaller printer.

Credit: New Scientist

Princeton University's Linjie Luo and colleagues have developed Chopper, software that could enable home 3-D printers to print larger and more useful objects. Chopper automatically breaks up large 3-D models into components that a smaller printer can make, adding connectors to clip the whole object together.

Chopper analyzes a 3-D model before printing and breaks it down in an optimal way. Object seams are placed as far away as possible from areas of high mechanical stress, also splitting the object into as few sections as possible. Luo notes that such calculations are difficult to make, but the software was generally able to devise partitions that worked better than those chosen by humans. Still, the team found that consumer-grade printers usually do not print the partitioned parts with a high enough fidelity to be useful.

The team presented their research at the recent SIGGRAPH Asia conference.

From New Scientist
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