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February 10, 2018

Watching this A.I. program build CAD models is a peek into the future of design

by John_A

Many makers now have at their disposal an artificial intelligence tool that automates the design process for 3D-printable parts without the need for 3D modeling. That means cutting out the often painstaking steps required to create functional parts, and could help make designing and engineering more seamless and efficient.

Developed by DM Labs, the research and innovation arm of 3D-printing company Desktop Metal, the A.I.-powered system, Live Parts, allows users to import constraint data from their local CAD program, automatically grow a part, and export that data for 3D printing, circumventing the tedious task of getting things to fit and hold up in the real world.

But, as with all great things in life, there’s a catch. Two actually — Live Parts is still experimental and it’s available exclusively to Solidworks users.

“Live Parts takes a new approach to generative design by applying morphogenetic principles and advanced simulation to shape strong, lightweight parts.” Jonah Myerberg, Desktop Metal CTO, told Digital Trends. “Live Parts is driven by nature-inspired algorithms that cause parts to grow and adapt based on their function and environment. Powered by a GPU-accelerated, multi-physics engine, Live Parts grows parts from individual cells and auto-generates designs in minutes. This enables users to quickly realize the full potential of additive manufacturing — including material and cost efficiency, and design flexibility.”

While other tools model multiple static load cases, Live Parts takes transitional dynamic forces in mind to accommodate the stress experienced in more real world scenarios.

“Live Parts is powered by a GPU-accelerated, multi-physics engine,” Myerberg said. “This gives Live Parts the unique ability to simulate transitional dynamic forces, such as high-frequency vibrations and low-frequency oscillations, and auto-generate parts that grow and adapt in real-time to these changing forces, much like real-world organisms grow in reaction to their changing environment. The result is parts that are evenly stressed, material efficient, strong, and lightweight.”

Since Live Parts emerged as part of a partnership with Solidworks, the widely-used CAD and CAE program, it’s currently only available as a preview within the Solidworks system. And, as an experimental system, don’t be surprised if you run across a couple bugs.

“Live Parts is under active development,” Myerberg said.

But if you want to be part of the journey, visit the DM Labs website and enter your email to gain access.

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