Dragon by Helio Additive: 3D Print Quality with Voxel-Based Optimization

By on June 28th, 2024 in news, Software

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Comparison of 3D print results with and without Dragon [Source: Helio Additive]

Helio Additive revealed Dragon, an advanced software platform for 3D printing.

We haven’t heard much from Helio Additive since a year ago when the received a major investment. Previously we heard about them only two years ago, and learned they were developing advanced slicing software.

What makes their concept different? It’s about increasing the quality of the print. Most attempts to do so involve tweaks to the machine itself, or the materials used by the machine. Instead, Helio Additive focuses on the software with a very different concept.

Their concept is voxel-based. Imagine an individual voxel: it has neighbors, which emit or absorb heat, and also present mechanical forces. The Helio Additive concept is to use sophisticated software to consider all these separate voxel conditions to better prepare extrusion parameters during the print job.

Based on that one can imagine that it would be possible to prepare toolpaths and parameters that could very well optimize the result in ways that other slicers simply cannot match.

Now it seems they’ve packaged up the results of all this work into Dragon, which they describe as follows:

“Additive manufacturing users often set process parameters blindly, resulting in unpredictable outcomes that significantly drive up costs due to scrap, under-utilization, and excessive engineering time. Dragon changes this paradigm by automating the optimization of thousands of process parameters, eliminating the guesswork, and delivering reliable, high-quality, and speedy results.”

Helio Additive believes Dragon can deliver “first time right 3D prints”, which is a bold claim. They say Dragon requires no coding or sophisticated knowledge to use, making it accessible to the vast majority of potential users.

If this really works — and I don’t doubt that it does — it could offer considerable savings to users. That’s because failed prints, which can take up a beefy percentage of attempts, cost money. Those failed prints generate no revenue, so Dragon can turn them into savings.

Helio Additive is offering a free trial of Dragon, along with “complimentary Polymaker materials”. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that Polymaker is one of the companies that helped launch the company a couple of years ago.

I’m interested in learning more about Dragon, and in particular with which systems it is compatible.

Via Helio Additive

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!