The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed Foundry, a new interface for its multi-material printer. Last year, researchers at CSAIL unveiled MultiFab, a less costly alternative to existing printers that can create multi-material objects in a single run. Researchers are now using Foundry with MultiFab, and they say the system is easy enough for non-programmers to use. Bundled software enables discrete material assignments to each part in an assembly, since the final product will still be manufactured using a traditional manufacturing process.
Foundry differs from previous multi-material systems because it targets true multi-material additive manufacturing processes in which the final part is designed and manufactured using three-dimensional printing, says MIT postdoctoral researcher Kiril Vidimce. Foundry is "Photoshop for 3D materials," Vidimce says. "To truly leverage the capabilities of such a fabrication platform, one needs to allow the user to take advantage of the capability to spatially vary material assignments at the target fabrication resolution," he says.
Foundry can be used with any commercially available multi-material printer, Vidimce says.
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