MIT CSAIL’s ‘Foundry’ Software Aims to Simplify Multi-Material Design & #3DPrinting | #3DThursday
The software, called Foundry – ‘hierarchical material design for multi-material fabrication’ – is the project of a small group of CSAIL students. You can find more direct information on the project here.
Today’s multi-material 3-D printers are mostly used for prototyping, because the materials currently used are not very functional. Users typically create preliminary models, make rapid adjustments, and then print them again. New platforms such as MIT’s MultiFab are developing highly functional materials appropriate for volume manufacturing.
Foundry, meanwhile, serves as the interface to help create such objects. To use it, you first design your object in a traditional CAD package like SolidWorks. Once the file is exported, you can determine the object’s composition by creating an “operator graph” that can include any of approximately 100 fine-tuned actions called “operators.”
Operators can “subdivide,” “remap,” or “assign” materials. Some operators cleanly divide an object into two or more different materials, while others provide more of a gradual shift from one material to another.