By Stian Mork
If you have SOLIDWORKS you also have access to 30 days trial of the 3D printing software 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS. This is a complementary software for SOLIDWORKS based on the full version of 3DXpert from 3D Systems.
Ok, so you don’t have a printer from 3D Systems? No problem, 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS is compatible with many different printer/brands, you can also define your own custom printer if needed.
One of 3DXperts main strengths is that they have gathered all you need to prepare your model for printing inside one single software, and 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS is no exception. Meaning that you don’t have to use time and face challenges importing/exporting files back and forth between different software to achieve what you are after.
The software lets you open CAD models from SOLIDWORKS (or other software) directly without having to convert them to *.stl format.
After the geometry file is opened in 3DXpert, you can choose printer type, which will reflect things like print chamber size, layer thickness, available materials etc.
When the printer type is defined then you can use the Printability Check tool to check if the model is suitable for printing. You can also study things like curvature and wall thickness.
The program can then optimize the orientation of the model based on multiple factors like minimizing build time, the build platform type or the use of supports.
With the Support Manager tool, we can get the program to calculate areas that need support material automatically, as well as define support areas manually if needed. We have a large number of shapes/designs for support material to choose from.
Another strong functionality in this program is that we can quickly and easily replace existing solid geometry with different kinds of lattice structure reducing weight and material use.
When the model has been optimized for printing, the print tray can then be set up to print multiple parts. You can also display real time estimates for material volume, cost and time.
The file can then be exported to the printer as a CLI, mesh or 3MF file.
In addition to the Standard version which is described in this article it is also possible to upgrade, or buy add-ons for more functionality like Advanced lattice structures, FEA of 3D print etc.
More information regarding the different versions can be found here.
Useful links regarding 3DXpert4SOLIDWORKS: