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A software tool to Ai Sync them all

How AiBuild evolved from a pioneering robotic 3D printing company into a provider of advanced multi-axis toolpath generation software

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AiBuild was started in 2015, by two architects, Daghan Cam and Michail Desyllas, after they had both spent the previous years working on different projects around the world—such as airports and cultural centers. The pair then brought their experience in geometrical solutions into what AiBuild is, today—a software enterprise platform that delivers highly sophisticated instructions for machines via its Ai Sync software tool.

“Our role was really to solve the geometrical problems. This means, for example, in construction, solving the challenges of big structures, algorithmically,” said Michail Desyllas. “Both of us are technical founders. This is where our passion is. We founded AIBuild because we were really fascinated with, and inspired by, 3D printing.”

According to Michail Desyllas, although 3D printing is perceived as “this amazing technology that can do anything we dream of. In reality, it is extremely error prone and very laborious.” And, as the printing is scaled for larger applications, such as construction—the problems increase exponentially. “This is really what we were interested in.”

How AiBuild evolved from a pioneering robotic 3D printing company into a provider of Ai Sync advanced multi-axis toolpath generation software

Hardware foundation

When Cam and Desyllas started out, “there was no hardware that was good enough to achieve what we had in mind, so we developed our own hardware, and used it to add more sensors and automate the process.”

Although AiBuild is now purely a software company, the team still has a physical lab where they test every new feature or new capability, that they deploy.

“We test it physically, always, and AI Labs is primarily for that, as well to integrate, give advice, and share knowledge with the community. Our hardware partners are sending us their machines, and we are able to give them advice by testing it and pushing its limits, and that results in better connectivity between the software and the hardware,” said Michail Desyllas. “We are able to develop and iterate very very quickly.

AiBuild’s Ai Sync software, from the user’s perspective, is essentially lines of codes packed into visual blocks that the user can use to make very complex toolpaths. The toolpaths are connected directly to the machine, and each toolpath is automatically and parametrically controlled, and specific to the machine one is using.

“That is because the market is evolving and each machine has its own capabilities and its own specific requirements. On top of that, we do a lot of material characterization that we code inside the software, as well as reporting and analytics in terms of weight and waste of the total generation before the actual production.”

Getting into the software side

AiBuild’s Ai Sync software is built specifically for the manufacturing side of industrial robotic extrusion 3D printing technologies—not to design parts.

“We support our customer’s different designs, and the idea of the platform really is to help our partners and our clients manufacture more sustainably. This means understanding the lifecycle of manufacturing from start to finish, and seeing where our software can help them minimize time through the stages—from the very early sourcing of the materials all the way through to the prototyping, and final shipping,” said Michail Desyllas. “It’s almost our responsibility to do all this because we’ve done it before and we feel we have to share this knowledge with the community so that we can make a better product.”

In 2015, when AI Build started out, the hardware options in terms of large formats industrial extrusion 3D printing were very limited, almost nonexistent. So, when Ai Build wanted to experiment with larger parts and needed large extruders, they built them.

When the pair started seeing fast growth in the large format industrial production segment of additive manufacturing, especially in industries like aerospace and automotive, and other established hardware companies releasing their own machines into the market—they decided to take this as an opportunity to partner with these companies, instead of competing with them. This gave AiBuild the opportunity to focus on its core strength: software.

“And now we are able to offer a much better joint product rather than doing it all by ourselves. So that was how it evolved over the seven years. But in the last two or three years, we’ve been selling Ai Sync software as a service exclusively,” said Daghan Cam.

How AiBuild evolved from a pioneering robotic 3D printing company into a provider of Ai Sync advanced multi-axis toolpath generation software Taking off with Ai Sync

After AiBuild received its first round of seed funding in 2020—approximately $1 million led by SuperSeed —Cam and Desyllas started to think more commercially, in terms of how to scale their software as a business, and not only in terms of developing the technology. “And luckily, the market was evolving in parallel to our business. It was around 2020 when we decided that software is the only thing we want to do moving forward,” continued Daghan Cam.

Earlier this year, AiBuild raised another $3.2 million in funding—as an extension of the first round, with their existing investors. Boeing also invested in AiBuild, after the company went through Boeing’s accelerator program. With this new investment, AiBuild is growing its team, adding new capabilities to the platform, and increasing its customer base and support.

AiBuild typically works with large enterprises in the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, and energy sectors. The company also has many different partnerships with companies producing large-format industrial polymer machines. More recently, they have started working with metal—especially 3D printer manufacturers.

“The goal for us, since the beginning, was to automate as much as possible so that we can get the parts right the first time. So we go from design to production very quickly to achieve that. At the moment, the existing processes are very closed systems. For example, the hardware company has its own slicer and control software and it’s very limited to one type of machine, or the exact opposite—you might have slices that do slicing for everyone, but both of them are problematic because when you have freedom for all, then you don’t get good control of your production quality. It requires too much experience to fine-tune it. And on the other side, if the software is made only for one type of machine, then it doesn’t work for the enterprise because they have 20 different types of machines and each machine comes with its own recommended software or control platform,” said Daghan Cam.

This means that the engineers in the company need to learn how to use different software packages, which creates the risk of the necessary skills potentially leaving the company. If the employees are changing all the time, it’s very difficult to transfer knowledge from one person to another. This is why the pair decided to build AiBuild as a platform that integrates deeply with the machines of their partners.

“When we say deep integration, we mean that we actually, physically get the machines. In our lab in London, we have an R&D center where we get a lot of machines, robots, and extruders, and physically integrate our software into them. Then, our software is able to support that machine to its full capacity. We expose all the sensors, cameras, and actuators—giving the customer full visibility and control of that machine through our platform. The advantage to the enterprise customers is that they have their manufacturing in one place, so they don’t need to be stretched into 20 different software packages,” said Daghan Cam.

Research 2022
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741 unique polymer AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core polymer AM market generated $4.6 billion...

Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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