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3MF Consortium releases first standardized 3D Beam Lattice Extension

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The 3MF Consortium (3MF) ratified and released its Beam Lattice Specification Extension to its 3MF Core Specification today. The 3MF Beam Lattice extension is a new method for storing and transferring lattice-type geometry information. By providing support for beam lattices, 3MF solves a significant interoperability issue for the additive manufacturing industry and provides an elegant solution to a problem that is not easily addressed in other file formats. The benefits of using 3MF’s Beam Lattice Extension in additive manufacturing are significant and broad and include improved design flexibility, lower material costs and reduced production time.

Designers and engineers can use the extension to take full advantage of the additive manufacturing process and design the interior of parts creating designs that were not possible to produce only a few years ago. As the extension inherits all the features from the 3MF Core Specification, it retains build information, colors, materials and technology specific characteristics like support structures – all in one compact and well-structured file. The 3MF Beam Lattice Extension is available to download at https://3mf.io/specification/.

“The 3MF Beam Lattice Extension simplifies creation of lattice structures for 3D printing in additive manufacturing environments. The central idea of this extension is to enrich the geometry notion of 3MF with beam lattice elements that can represent small-scale lattices as well as larger truss structures – both of which are quite inefficient to handle with a mesh representation, especially in cases where the element count grows into large numbers.”

Alexander Oster, chairman, 3MF Technical Working Group and director, Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk.

This is the fourth specification extension released by 3MF furthering its goal of providing a universal specification that serves as the backbone of the additive manufacturing ecosystem, and allows companies to focus on innovation, rather than on basic interoperability issues. The consortium provides open source code free of charge to keep the barrier of adoption to a minimum. Companies that have adopted the 3MF Core Specification include: 3D Systems, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, HP, Materialise, Microsoft, nTopology, PTC, Siemens and Ultimaker.

“Using lattice structures unlocks a key potential of additive manufacturing. The 3MF Beam Lattice Extension to our core specification provides the most efficient expression of lattice geometry and moves the industry forward toward standardizing the software for an end-to-end 3D printing solution.”

Adrian Lannin, executive director, 3MF Consortium.

Launched in 2015, the 3MF Consortium is a Joint Development Foundation project with the goal to define a 3D printing format that will allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services and printers. The 3MF (for 3D Manufacturing Format) specification eliminates the widespread issues with currently available file formats. Founding members of the 3MF Consortium are: 3D Systems; Autodesk, Inc.; Dassault Systèmes, SA.; EOS; FIT AG; GE Global Research; HP, Inc.; Materialise; Microsoft Corporation; nTopology Inc.; PTC; Shapeways, Inc.; Siemens PLM Software; SLM Solutions Group AG; Stratasys, and Ultimaker.

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