Curvy: An Interactive Design Tool for Varying Density Support Structures

19 Feb 2021  ·  Erva Ulu, Nurcan Gecer Ulu, Jiahao Li, Walter Hsiao ·

We introduce Curvy-an interactive design tool to generate varying density support structures for 3D printing. Support structures are essential for printing models with extreme overhangs. Yet, they often cause defects on contact areas, resulting in poor surface quality. Low-level design of support structures may alleviate such negative effects. However, it is tedious and unintuitive for novice users as it is hard to predict the impact of changes to the support structure on the final printed part. Curvy allows users to define their high-level preferences on the surface quality directly on the target object rather than explicitly designing the supports. These preferences are then automatically translated into low-level design parameters to generate the support structure. Underlying novel curvy zigzag toolpathing algorithm uses these instructions to generate varying density supports by altering the spacing between individual paths in order to achieve prescribed quality. Combined with the build orientation optimization, Curvy provides a practical solution to the design of support structures with minimal perceptual or functional impact on the target part to be printed.

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