The 3MF Consortium (3MF), Wakefield, Massachusetts, USA, an industry consortium working to define an Additive Manufacturing format that will allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services and machines, has added a Beam Lattice Specification Extension to its 3MF Core Specification.
The Beam Lattice Extension is said to offer a new method for storing and transferring lattice-type geometry information. This is the fourth specification extension released by 3MF, which provides open source code free of charge. Companies which have adopted the 3MF Core Specification include 3D Systems, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, HP, Materialise, Microsoft, nTopology, Siemens and more.
By providing support for beam lattices, 3MF stated the extension could solve a significant file interoperability issue for the Additive Manufacturing industry and provide a solution to a problem not easily addressed in other file formats. Designers and engineers can use the extension to design the interior of parts, thus taking full advantage of the possibilities offered by AM.
The benefits of the extension include improved design flexibility, lower material costs and reduced production time. It also inherits all of the features offered by the 3MF Core Specification and will retain build information, colours, materials and technology-specific characteristics like support structures in one file.
“The 3MF Beam Lattice Extension simplifies the creation of lattice structures for 3D printing in Additive Manufacturing environments,” explained Alexander Oster, Chairman, 3MF Technical Working Group and Director, Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk.
“The central idea of this extension is to enrich the geometry notion of 3MF with beam lattice elements that can represent small-scale lattices as well as larger truss structures,” he continued, “both of which are quite inefficient to handle with a mesh representation, especially in cases where the element count grows into large numbers.”
“Using lattice structures unlocks a key potential of additive manufacturing,” said Adrian Lannin, Executive Director, 3MF Consortium. “The 3MF Beam Lattice Extension to our core specification provides the most efficient expression of lattice geometry and moves the industry forward toward standardising the software for an end-to-end 3D printing solution.”