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Additive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a term to describe the technologies used to build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of
material, whether the material is plastic, metal, concrete, etc.Common to AM technologies is the use
of a computer, 3D CAD software, machine equipment and material. Once a CAD model is made, the AM equipment
reads in data from the CAD file and start to build the layers of liquid, powder, sheet material or other,
in a layer-upon-layer fashion to fabricate a 3D object. AM manufacturing includes processes such as
3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping (RP), Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), layered manufacturing and additive
fabrication. In the early stages, AM was mostly used only for visual representation of the finish model,
however nowadays AM is being used to fabricate end-use products in aircraft, dental restorations, medical
implants, automobiles, and even fashion products. There are many applications of AM technology to meet
a wide variety of needs including: • Visualization tool in design • Creation of highly customized products
for consumers and professionals • Industrial tooling • Production of small quantities of parts From a
manufacturing point of view, AM is empowering companies to create products previously thought too complex.
Primarily used for low-volume part production, AM is becoming a valued part of the production process
as its reliability improves daily. Despite the progress, there are still challenges that must be addressed
including financial considerations, certification, repeatability and a skills gap. With these challenges
in mind, SOLIDWORKS with 3DXpert can assist you in the preparation and optimization process.

3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS is a complementary software for SOLIDWORKS, providing everything you need to prepare and optimize
your design for AM. A click of a button in SOLIDWORKS brings your native CAD data directly into 3DXpert
for SOLIDWORKS and provides you with an extensive toolset to easily analyze, prepare and optimize your
design for AM. With 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS, you ensure high quality printed parts and get the most out
of additive manufacturing’s advanced capabilities.

3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS gives you a direct path to AM and allows you to prepare, optimize and modify your designs before manufacturing
Within the SOLIDWORKS user interface you can activate this add-in and it will appear in your tabs as
“3DXpert for SOLDIWORKS” once you click on this feature your part will be transferred into the 3DXpert
environment, where you can immediately go and check the printability of the part with the software, you
can check / set parameters such as thin walls, hole sizes and gaps. You also have the ability to measure
your component.

Once your checks have been done you can customise your part orientation which will allow you to minimize support structures,
build a platform and adjust printing times. With 3DXpert you also have the ability to modify geometry
to suit your manufacturing needs such as removing holes so that they can be accurately drilled in later
or adding materials offsets for machined regions or threaded sections. You can create supports automatically
with the built-in tool that detects areas requiring support, or you can refine it by adding in manual

Support Manager

As with any manufacturing process we want to minimize material use, in 3DXpert we can add a lattice structure which is an
engineering or architectural structure made of a crisscross pattern of strips. This forms a network of
crosshatch sections that strengthen the whole structure. This lattice structure can be added to the geometry
and is shown in real time. In addition to this you can add drain holes for material removal. This is
to prevent material being trapped in a void within your part.

Adding lattice structure for strength

When you are done checking the parameters, customization, and modification, you can set up your print tray for multiple parts.
This will also enable real time estimation on material volume, cost and time. Also, when this is calculated
we can review and check the slicing for printing

Material volume, cost, and time estimation

3DXpert functionality matrix

Finally, you can output your geometry to the printer of your choice, either in CLI or mesh file 3MF file format. 3DXpert
comes in two packages, the Standard and Professional version. Below are the product capabilities.

Sounds awesome right? Now you might wonder how I can get this!! Well 3DXpert is absolutely free – if you are on active subscription
and have a SOLIDWORKS license. In order to use 3DXpert you must have SOLIDWORKS 2018 installed and running
on your computer. You will need to activate this product to be able to use it thus you should have a account where the license key would be generated for you. Please feel free to give
us a call if you want to make use of this amazing free add-in. Download it from

One thought on “3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS

  1. This is a very interesting post on 3DXpert and 3d printing. You have given info and working procedure and the best thing is that designing using 3d adding. layer

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