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Materialise releases Magics 8: a wide range of novelties on customer request

Materialise NV : 08 October, 2002  (Company News)
Materialise, industry leading developer of Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Tooling software, releases Magics 8, the latest version of its renown STL handling software.
A variety of new and enhanced functions intensify Magics' ease-of-use and speed. Enhanced support generation, smart algorithms, extended document generation capabilities, more flexible fixture creation and manipulation, a special module to increase the productivity of LOM machines, upgraded visualisation options: all of these contribute to the increased advantages of using Magics. That's because this brand new version, like its predecessors, will enable its users to complete their projects more quickly and effectively.

Magics' support generation module has been enhanced with innovative capabilities. Materialise has listened closely to its customers' feedback. The solutions Materialise has developed address their needs for greater flexibility and speed while at the same time offering valuable, market-specific functionality. One of those solutions is a new type of perforated support structure. The use of perforated supports has a lot of advantages over full support structures. For instance, need for material is decreased, which in turn cuts costs. Magics users can now choose between two different types of perforated supports. Both allow the resin to drain more quickly and easily. In addition, perforated structures are easier to remove and thus require less finishing.

And that is not all! The fragmentation of large block supports was also implemented. A lot of force is needed to remove large supports from the part, causing small pieces of the part to break off. Materialise has solved this problem by offering the fragmentation of large block supports. Separation gaps are automatically added to the support, dividing the large blocks into smaller blocks that can be removed more easily and safely.

In addition, extended surface functions increase the user's flexibility. It's now possible to add a group of selected triangles to the list of surfaces that need support. This means that automatically generated support structures can be manually expanded or reduced. Another new, intelligent tool enables to merge two selected surfaces in order to make the support structure more fluent.

Faster, more powerful STL manipulation enables you to complete projects more quickly and efficiently

Materialise has sped up the manipulation, editing and fixing of STL files by developing a variety of advanced, intelligent algorithms. These algorithms are especially designed to boost efficiency and productivity. The result is the addition of a wide range of powerful new tools to Magics software.

Self-intersections (intersecting triangles or surfaces within one part) can easily be removed with the brand new 'Unify' tool. 'Unify' is very useful for post-processing offset and Z-compensation. Magic's other novel features for repairing functionality include a 'small triangle remover' and an improved 'fill all holes' function. You'll save the time and hassle of fixing files yourself after importing them with Magics' new fixing algorithms. These algorithms correct defective 3D CAD files automatically before they are converted into STL files.

What if parts are too large for the machine? What if it would be easier to build the part into separate pieces? Magics offers the perfect solution through its cutting functionality, with the increased flexibility of its two new cutting options. Use the 'cylinder cut' when you need to cut a cylinder or circle shaped piece from the part. The 'profile cut' is especially designed to ensure a strong assemblage of the cut parts. The teeth of this 'profile cut' can be defined parametrically, allowing you to adapt them perfectly to your needs. Would you like to smooth only a selection of triangles or perform a triangle reduction on a singl surface while the rest of the part remains detailed and unchanged? Local smoothing and local triangle reduction makes it possible from now on.

You can't send MGX files to your contacts because they lack a Magics to open the files? This kind of problem now belongs to the past. With Magics 8 you can create self-extracting MGX files, allowing you to send highly compressed STL files to anyone, without them needing a Magics to view the files.

The parameters (e.g. machine name, material, cost) of the popular document generation functionality have been extended. Magics users can now generate complete, thoroughly documented project reports.

RapidFit reports are now available, too. You can export the set-up from the RapidFit module to a nice clear Word document. The resulting printout will be a great help to the person who's responsible for setting up the actual production system.

The RapidFit module is now easier and more flexible to work with, thanks to the enhancements in its functionality. Improvements to the base plate management functions increase flexibility and ease-of-use when placing the base plate(s). Simply drag the base plates to the right spot. You can also save the dimensions of your base plates fixtures to a file, and access them every time you design a part of similar size. Since you won't have to create and orient base plates from scratch at the start of each new project, you'll save time.

The new 'collision detection' function eliminates problems caused by very low fixtures. This function alerts you to possible collisions between the part and the fixture's base.

The brand new OptiLOM module was especially designed to support users of a Laminated Object Manufacture (LOM) machine. Thanks to its innovative technology to handle waste material, the user saves a lot of time. The OptiLOM technology has been developed in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. DaimlerChrysler uses OptiLOM already quite some time and is very pleased with the time-savings it offers.

The LOM machine creates a 3D model from successive layers of heat bonded sheet material, typically paper. The sliced CAD data is used to operate the laser that cuts the border of each slice in the sheet material. Once each layer is complete a new sheet of material is heat bonded on top of it and the laser cuts the next slice. The final model has the appearance of soft wood. The waste material around the slice is left in place to support the next layer of the model. The old method for removing the subsequent waste material was to use the laser to cross-hatch it to form cubes. Cross-hatching, however, was time-consuming, and not always effective, especially for small cutaways in the part. The OptiLOM module's innovative technology takes these obstacles out of your way.

Magics' OptiLOM module offers a function that automatically creates a kind of 'mould' around the 3D model. This 'mould' is the same size as the entire sheet material needed to build the prototype. It consists of two halves around the part and the necessary inserts and slides. The laser cuts the waste material in the shape indicated by the OptiLOM software, resulting in a small amount of blocks of material that are easy to remove. Rapid prototypers working with LOM will reap huge benefits from this groundbreaking technology. It saves laser time (since cross-hatching the waste material is no longer necessary) as well as the time spent in removing all waste material. Ultimately, OptiLom's advanced functionality will give the user a competitive edge. They'll maximise the use of their machine because they can now build more parts in the same time compared to before.
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