Today we take a look at PostProcessing Technologies’ CONNECT3D software and discuss if it’s the right fit for you.

To start, we must understand that design for additive post-processing is different from design for additive. For context, there are different “designed for X (DFX)” initiatives, in which X acts a placeholder for whatever product is being manufactured. These include designed for manufacturability, designed for reliability, designed for quality, or any kind of enterprise concern that you could possibly take into account. Most recently, we’ve been talking about design for additive.

Any material you heat up on the bed of a 3D printer is going to expand and then shrink as it cools down. Recently, we’ve talked about the capability of software to reverse engineer this process so that additive materials are made bigger than they should be. This way, when those materials shrink, the end result is the exact sizing you were looking for. However, even with the proper sizing, rarely do you have a part that comes out of the printer exactly the way you want it. There are support structures and surface finishes are not going to executed the way you want. Enter PostProcessing Technologies.

PostProcess Technologies allows you to automate and standardize the post-processing procedure so it’s not done manually, but by machine. A part would be taken out of the 3D printer, put into a separate device programmed to run CONNECT3D, and the software will create a finished product specified to the quality you want. This includes surface finish, removing the support structures, etc. This solution is particularly useful for those taking additive to production,  similar to how quality steps are automated in today’s manufacturing processes. Now, how does this lead to design for additive post-processing? There are adjustments you can make in the design process that will improve the outcome in the post-processing procedure.

Such adjustments include:

  • changing the orientation of a part so the support structures are altered. This is especially helpful when you require certain surface finishes and need to move support structures to avoid variations in the material.
  • Changing chemical properties or factoring them into the post-process of the additive component.

CONNECT3D software offered by PostProcess Technologies can be used by engineers to make adjustments to design so that when you do go through the additive process, parts come out as you expected more easily, more readily, at reduced costs, and with reduced processing time. If you’re in a company that’s serious about 3D printing and additive for production, then CONNECT3D may be the right fit.