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Grafter Software Remixes and Improves 3D Printing Models into New Forms

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Grafter can remix 3D printing models into new, functional machines, without the need for extensive tweaking or testing.

Remixing 3D models to create newly printed objects is a common technique in additive manufacturing. A team of experts at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany have gone a step further, by developing software to remix 3D printed machines with moving parts.

When remixing, creators often combine parts from parent models with those of a different model. However, this can lead to poorly fitted parts as models often do not match each other.

Grafter, the software developed by Thijs Jan Roumen, Willi Mueller and Patrick Baudisch at the Hasso Plattner Institute addresses these issues.

It does so by fully automating the entire remixing process – from extraction and recombination of the separate 3D printed elements.

However, it also enables the user to see which mechanical elements would fit and work best together.

This saves users the effort in having to re-engineer and tweak or even test the original mechanisms before combining them.

First tests are proving power of Grafter

Grafter is the first software for remixing machines for 3D print. It is based on a group extraction mechanism, whereby parts are automatically cut up and then matched together.

This way users get to make completely new machines by simply dragging and dropping parts together.

As an example, the test tube centrifuge (pictured below) consists of three different parts sources. The blue part used to be a siren, while the red part was a record player. Together with the waterfuge (green), it becomes a 3D printed centrifuge that can be spun using the handle mechanism.

The team then tested the Grafter software among 12 students – all of whom had previous 3D modeling experience. The devices they created using the software worked on first attempt. None of their creations required additional tweaking or a test print.

In addition, 10 out of 12 participants finished the remix they had been tasked to make.

Although many 3D enthusiasts will want to get their hands on the software immediately, Grafter is currently only available as a prototype for research. It was created to encourage and lead further developments within the area of 3D print remixing.

Source: Hasso-Plattner Institute

Centrifuge created using Grafter. (Image: HPI)

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