Home Software ORNL develops slicing software for large-format 3D printing

ORNL develops slicing software for large-format 3D printing

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed slicing software for large-format 3D printing.

This is intended to enable the production of objects the size of a house and is used in the production of land and water vehicles as well as in the aerospace industry. With over 500 setting options, Slicer 2 controls the internal structure, shape, temperature and other parameters of individual parts, layers or regions.

“The quality of a 3D-printed object is directly related to the accuracy and complexity of the toolpaths that control the machine’s movements,” said ORNL researcher Alex Roschli. “ORNL Slicer 2 software connects directly with various types of 3D printers to create an integrated platform and communicates with sensors to increase print accuracy.”

The software also works with simulation programs that represent complex heat and stress conditions during the additive manufacturing process. Slicer 2 supports various additive manufacturing systems such as pellet thermoplastic, filament thermoplastic, thermoset, concrete, laser wire welding, MIG welding and powdered direct energy deposition.

Research for Slicer 2 will be conducted at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF). This facility is supported by DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office and is a nationwide consortium of partners working with ORNL to transform U.S. manufacturing. Slicer 2 is open-source software available on GitHub and is used by more than 50 equipment manufacturers, industrial end users and universities.

“This connectivity translates into improved machine commands that increase reliability and repeatability of the additive manufacturing process,” said Roschli. “The result of this software is that additive manufacturers can produce large factory parts with fewer machines and less cost than traditional machining methods.”

ORNL is administered by UT-Battelle on behalf of the DOE Office of Science, which is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The DOE Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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