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First time 3D print from CATIA V5

The European “Bionic Aircraft” research project has reached yet another milestone for additive manufacturing: For the first time ever, components can be printed directly from the CATIA V5 CAD system. This is made possible with the interface developed by CENIT. With it, there is no need to leave the development environment. All process steps, including post-processing, can be mapped in CATIA V5. Now, exact data is available in CATIA V5 for removing the support structures during 3D part post-processing – elaborate reconstructions of the model and the support structures are a thing of the past. Future users will be able to reduce their time and costs resulting from the closed process chain for additive manufacturing, because now the development process for a part until series maturity has become significantly leaner.

Jochen Michael, Senior Consultant at CENIT, provides background information: “Support structures of additive manufactured components should not be removed manually in series production, but instead with NC machines. When creating NC programs of this type, the STL format, which in the past was used primarily for the representation of component and support structures in the 3D print data chain, is inadequate, because it can only represent the geometry imprecisely. In that case, the model and support structures must be reconstructed for refinishing, resulting in unnecessary expense. We can prevent this with the 3D print from CATIA V5 directly, because the exact geometry data for this post-processing is already available.”

In for the 3D print to be successful via CATIA V5, CENIT provides support to the engineer in the preparation of data from topology optimization. During topology optimization, in a computer-aided process, the material for the component is reduced to the amount that is absolutely necessary to meet the requirements. The CATIA V5 Slicer, newly developed by CENIT, then slices the component into layers. The contours of these slices are sent directly to the 3D printer via the post-processor developed by CENIT.

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