netfabb Bridges Gap Between a CAD Model and 3D Printer
Chris McAndrew posted on July 22, 2015 |
3D print is rarely as simple as taking a CAD model and pushing a button.

netfabb, a developer of software for additive manufacturing and 3D printing, recently announced the release of version 6.0 of its netfabb PRO software that is aimed at production level users of 3D printing.

The suite is designed to ease the transition of standard CAD file formats into printable formats. Due to the variety of file types used by different printer manufacturers the task of repairing a file and prepping for production is typically left to the service bureau or production facility though this may be changing as a push for a standardized format is underway by the 3MF Consortium, also noted in the press release.

netfabb competes with a number of open source (KISSlicer and Cura, open source and maintained by Ultimaker) and proprietary solutions (Autodesk Meshmixer). It offers a free version primarily for hobbyists and individual artists, but the professional version offers significantly enhanced features and automation.

netfabb addresses the multiple file repairs often needed and other preparations called for before a 3D print can be produced. These necessary tasks are typically overlooked in the hype surrounding 3D printing in popular media and most 3D printing conversations. Finding and repairing a flipped triangles in a .stl can be critical to the creation of the 3D printed model. Optimizing layout of parts on a 3D print bed will be critical to the time required to make a batch of parts. There is not a lot of attention paid to these tasks with flashy new materials or applications grabbing all the headlines. However, it is developments in file preparation automation that will actually open up the process of 3D printing to more engineers and designers.

How Much?

netfabb is available for download at the company’s website. It exists in three different versions

netfabb Basic is available as a free download. You can view a mesh and it does automatic repairs. It is not a trial version.

netfabb private, which is to be used only for “personal leisure pursuit” therefore not 3D print businesses, is available for $299 on the company’s website.

The top-of-the-line is netfabb PRO. Price available upon request.

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