3-D printing has become a powerful tool for engineers and designers, allowing them to do “rapid prototyping” by creating a physical copy of a proposed design.
But what if you decide to make changes? You may have to go back, change the design and print the whole thing again, perhaps more than once. So Cornell researchers have come up with an interactive prototyping system that prints what you are designing as you design it; the designer can pause anywhere in the process to test, measure and, if necessary, make changes that will be added to the physical model still in the printer.
“We are going from human-computer interaction to human-machine interaction,” said graduate student Huaishu Peng, who described the On-the-Fly-Print system in a paper presented at the 2016 ACM Conference for Human Computer Interaction. Co-authors are François Guimbretière, associate professor of information science; Steve Marschner, professor of computer science; and doctoral student Rundong Wu.
Their system uses an improved version of an innovative “WirePrint” printer developed in a collaboration between Guimbretière’s lab and the Hasso Platner Institute in Potsdam, Germany.