Following last year’s introduction of MultiFab, a multi-material 3D printer, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has pioneered a system for designing multi-material objects. The new interface, Foundry, is meant to be accessible to non-programmers, whereas multi-material 3D printing technology has historically been prohibitive both with respect to cost and user-friendliness.
The team at MIT hopes that Foundry will become 3D printing’s analog to graphic design’s Photoshop. To aid rapid prototyping, the platform enables the designer to assign distinct material properties to each part in a composite print. For example, it could produce a dental appliance containing a rigid, tooth-like material connected to a softer and more malleable material to merge with the gums.
The software is compatible with any commercially available multi-material printer. Currently, users must import geometry from traditional CAD software into Foundry to designate material composition, but the researchers are looking into integrating Foundry into CAD programs. Additionally, the team hopes to add the capability to preview a part’s behavior.
Learn more about Foundry at DesignNews.