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Case Study: 3D Printed Artificial Reefs with netfabb

Friday, September 04, 2015 by Elisabeth Bauer

Now here's a really cool project where netfabb was involved.

Coral reefs belong to the most fascinating underwater phenomena. However, there are many threats to this kind of fragile ecosystem, and one way to preserve them is the construction of artificial reefs. In his thesis, James Gardiner examines a potential new link between constructed reefs and construction 3D printing as described in this world-first research project.

Read more: James B. Gardiner, "Exploring the Emerging Design Territory of Construction 3D Printing – Project Led Architectural Research", RMIT (2011)

3D printed reefs represent an ideal use case of microstructuring which can imitate complex, organic topologies efficiently in terms of material, meaning less material and weight and an increased surface area. And don't forget the nice look!

3D Printed Artificial Reefs with netfabb

3D Printed Artificial Reefs with netfabb

Some excerpts from Gardiner's paper:

"Netfabb™ was used for boolean operations and for generating .stl files [...] and Netfabb™ Selective Space Structures™ was used for the generation of the internal panel geometry. (p. 268) The main benefit of using the Netfabb™ software was for the creation of internal geometries within the panels of the Roccia assembly and for the generation of the deep scaffold for the (in)human habitat project." (p. 348)

"This surface roughness was created intentionally by experimenting with .stl file export functions (tesselation) within the Netfabb™ software. [...] Surface texture, as discussed in chapter (6.2.1), in the form of uneven and rough surfaces are the easiest for coral polyps and other sessile (stationary) marine life to attach themselves to. Providing these surface types aids the colonisation of the reef by these marine creatures." (p. 329)

Summary: "The projects presented in the case studies have shown that the choice of software tools for a project has a significant effect on the quality of the digital definition generated. Scale, purpose, functionality and output required have all been identified as being critical to the choice of digital design tools and the outcome produced. One of the major issues for digital design for construction 3D printing is identified as the ability to efficiently and effectively perform boolean operations." (p. 348)

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Free, live, online: netfabbinars demonstrate netfabb's key features in real time

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Elisabeth Bauer

netfabb has created a new service for you. Join our "netfabbinars", netfabb webinars—they are free, they're live, and they give you a good insight into what you will be able to achieve with netfabb.

There are two topics for you to choose from:

"Best Practice—Prepare files for 3D printing"

» Thursday, August 21, 2014
» Starting time: 9:00 AM CEST (UTC+2) or 6:00 PM CEST (UTC+2)
» Duration: 30 min.

Your benefits:

  • Watch a real-time demonstration of netfabb Professional's key features at work
  • See how to prepare and optimize your files for 3D Printing
  • Learn how to fix frequent errors easily and quickly
  • Ask any questions about the team play of netfabb and 3D Printing


"Inside Structures with netfabb 3S"

» Thursday, August 28, 2014
» Starting time: 9:00 AM CEST (UTC+2) or 6:00 PM CEST (UTC+2)
» Duration: 30 min.

Your benefits: Learn how to...

  • Reduce the weight of parts with netfabb 3S
  • Create porose parts
  • Change the properties of surfaces
  • Model complex parts
  • Create fascinating designs

Don't miss this great opportunity to look over the shoulder of our netfabb specialists. Feel free to ask any questions about data preparation with netfabb Professional respectively designing advanced structures with netfabb 3S.

We are looking forward to meeting you online!

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Release of netfabb Professional 5.1.1

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Charlie Luzolo

Heard about our free update to netfabb Professional 5 yet?

netfabb Professional 5.1.1 is out and it brings along neat new features to make the usage of netfabb Professional even easier (Yes, this IS possible, indeed!).
This upgrade comes absolutely free for the smart owners of netfabb Professional 5 and delivers...

1. Advanced cutting with tolerances, round corners and multiple polygons
2. A simplified 3-step labeling process (enter or load text – place and adjust – apply!). Also possible for multiple labels
3. Display of your various part names next to them for better identification on the platform
4. Direct import of VRML files


Sounds good? Go ahead and get your free update now to and get ready to boost your AM, RP and 3D Printing experience with netfabb!

Category: netfabb
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