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Stop-motion film company uses 3D print software

International research institute in Applied Visual Computing, Fraunhofer, has developed its Cuttlefish 3D printer driver for 3D printing solutions manufacturer, Stratasys’ PolyJet systems.

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Animation studio, LAIKA uses Cuttlefish software with Stratasys 3D printers to produce models for its films

The Cuttlefish software package has been supporting PolyJet systems since 2017 via the GrabCAD Voxel Print interface. Fraunhofer IGD has since developed this, adding new algorithms to enable companies to save costs and improve colour accuracy.

Philipp Urban, head of 3D printing technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research, has been leading the development of software since 2014.

The team has been working to make it possible to 3D print using multiple materials at a time for enhanced geometry and colour accuracy. According to Urban, Cuttlefish software has already enabled PolyJet 3D printing technology to produce “hundreds of thousands” of high quality prints for customers.

The method of 3D printing is being used more and more at universities in research. One example is the use of Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 printer to produce 3D anatomical models at the University of Florence.

For our latest movie, Missing Link, we used Fraunhofer IGD technologies because they allow for unique colour consistency and geometric accuracy

In this case, 3D printing allowed doctors and researchers to produce more accurate and life-like representations compared to drawings, diagrams, and other methods previously used.

Universities and research institutes using PolyJet printers as part of their research can use the plug-in feature by Cuttlefish which enables them to integrate their own methods and software into the Cuttlefish workflow. This means that researchers don’t have to programme everything themselves.

Away from medical research, and one company has used Stratasys technology in the production of a stop-motion film. Animation studio, LAIKA, used 3D printing technology in the movie, Missing Link where over 106,000 facial expressions were 3D printed using Cuttlefish.

Brian McLean, director of Rapid Prototype at LAIKA, says: “We’ve been using 3D printers in stop-motion productions since Coraline, the first movie made at LAIKA. For our latest movie, Missing Link, we used Fraunhofer IGD technologies because they allow for unique colour consistency and geometric accuracy.

“By combining the Cuttlefish software with the Stratasys J750 series 3D printers, we were able to create the most complex colour 3D printed surfaces ever produced.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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