3D printed Object Image
A new machine learning driven software package makes 3D printing more accurate. (Credit: PXHERE)

Manufacturers, medical device companies, and the general public will soon have access to powerful AI-driven 3D printing software, the result of six years of research.

3D printing is often touted as the future of manufacturing. It allows us to directly build objects from computer-generated designs, meaning industry can manufacture customized products in-house, without outsourcing parts. But 3D printing has a high degree of error, such as shape distortion. Each printer is different, and the printed material can shrink and expand in unexpected ways. Manufacturers often need to try many iterations of a print before they get it right.

What happens to the unusable print jobs? They must be discarded, presenting a significant environmental and financial cost to industry. A team of researchers is tackling this problem, with a new set of machine learning algorithms and a software tool called PrintFixer, to improve 3D printing accuracy by 50 percent or more, making the process vastly more economical and sustainable.

The team has trained the model to work with the same accuracy across a variety of applications and materials.