Computer aided design (CAD) software is vital to design 3D parts for metal additive manufacturing (AM). However, translating this data to make it print ready can be one of the trickiest part of the whole AM process, and one where all the benefits of designing specifically for AM can be lost in the process. That’s where software company Tech Soft 3D comes in. The company is finding that metal AM companies are increasingly using its software to close the gap between CAD design and final printing.

Tech Soft 3D is a privately-owned company based in the US that was founded in 1996, and the four people that started it still work at the company today. It has grown during the last ten years to have just over 100 employees worldwide with offices in Bend, Oregon, Berkeley, California, and Lyon, France, as well as in the UK and Japan.

According to the company, much of the CAD software currently available on the market has a flaw: it does not currently include complete 3D printing specific feature sets to enable design-to-print from CAD to 3D printer. As a result, to develop a seamless workflow in one user interface for print preparation, build processing and production, additional software is needed. Moreover, says Tech Soft 3D, in the case of metal powder AM, there is an additional need for software for predictive modeling for stress in parts and post processing considerations.

I spoke to James Kerr, product marketing manager for the HOOPS software development kits at Tech Soft 3D, about the company’s software products.

This article appeared in the January–February 2018 issue of Metal Powder Report.

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