Hubs explores the impact of AI on 3D printing

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Hubs, the world’s leading manufacturing platform, reached out to experts in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, including thought leaders, journalists, and enthusiasts, to explore the potential of AI-enabled 3D printing. Here are their insights on where the industry is heading.

Quality control

One of the most obvious applications of AI in 3D printing is quality control. AI-enabled 3D printers can detect errors and correct them before they occur. These algorithms can analyze the 3D model and continuously compare it to the ongoing print process, monitor essential parameters, and make quick adjustments on the fly to address any issues. According to Jacob Wilson, Regional Manager at Bcn3d.com, AI can soon prevent print job failures in high-end industrial metal or polymer printers through in-print monitoring.

Generative design

Designing objects still requires a working knowledge of both CAD and slicer software, which can be complex and challenging to learn. However, AI could eliminate this barrier to entry by enabling even those without any technical know-how to design their own 3D projects with ease. CNET’s Senior Editor, James Bricknell, believes that NLP-based AI tools such as ChatGPT could transform the industry by allowing people to design complex geometries just with a simple prompt.

Print optimization

Artificial intelligence can improve print optimization, allowing for the creation of different printing techniques. Mark Lamkin, co-founder of FYR Medical, predicts that a neural net trained to iterate general 3D printing approaches toward a specific design goal could result in discoveries. By automating repetitive and tedious tasks, AI can free up designers and engineers to focus on more important things, like creativity and innovation.

Medical industry

3D printing has already proved its worth in healthcare with customized prosthetics and medical implants. However, the current process for achieving this is quite resource and time intensive. With AI-assisted automation, these processes can be fast-tracked to cut down precious time for individuals needing urgent implants. Robin Brockötter, the resident 3D printing expert at Hubs, believes that AI will help doctors to play a more active role in the development of prosthetics and implants.

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