Raise3D announced a new version of ideaMaker, version 4.1.0, which includes a very interesting capability.
Raise3D, like many other larger 3D printers manufacturers, produces its own 3D printer management system, and theirs is called ideaMaker. It offers the ability to set up 3D print jobs, send them to 3D printers, and most recently integrates with Raise3D’s RaiseCloud system for managing 3D printers and files. IdeaMaker basically glues together the entire Raise3D ecosystem.
ideaMaker For Other 3D Printers
IdeaMaker, like Ultimaker Cura and PrusaSlicer, also provides an ability for it to be used on equipment beyond the original equipment manufacturer. This means you can use ideaMaker to slice and prepare 3D models for printing for many different devices.
Raise 3D’s website offers print profiles for quite a number of 3D printer / material combinations, and it’s usually a straightforward matter to find a profile to match your configuration.
Version 4.1.0 includes a number of improvements, but by far the most interesting one is the texturing feature.
The texturing feature requires the operator providing a 2D grey-scale image that will represent the texture.
This texture will then be applied to the surface of the 3D model and then used to “carve out” some of the model. This enables a designer to easily create a physical texture on the surface of almost any 3D model with very little effort.
Raise3D explains how this feature works:
“Users can now simply select an image with the desired pattern, and ideaMaker will automatically spread the image on the surface of the model. This allows for customized textures without any previous modelling needed. With ideaMaker texture, users can easily create different iterations of the same STL model by applying different patterns on its surface.”
It seems that the software uses the grey scales to determine the depth of impression, which could allow for many different texture possibilities.
IdeaMaker recognizes this, as they are simultaneously setting up a “Texture Library” in the system that will store many common textures anyone can use. They don’t seem to say whether users could upload their own textures and share them with others through the Texture Library, but that would be useful as well.
While you might think this feature is destined for casual decorative use (and it will be), there are commercial possibilities too. Imagine an application where you have to 3D print trays to hold small parts in specific locations, and that the locations change.
This could be easily implemented by simply generating an image that matches the part layout and applying it as a texture in ideaMaker 4.1.0. Each tray printed could have a different part layout.
I’m sure there are plenty more possibilities of this type, once people get their heads around the idea of using “textures as structure”.
If that wasn’t all, ideaMaker 4.1.0 includes several other improvements. One is to automatically convert a 2D image into a 3D model, which likely builds on the new texture engine. Similarly, you can also use textures to define the geometry of internal infills.
ideaMaker For Belt Printers
One very intriguing feature I’d like to learn more about is that they’ve also included support for belt 3D printers in ideaMaker. They said:
“ideaMaker 4.1.0 also comes with a Belt Printer feature that gives the Y-axis an unlimited length, which can allow users to make longer objects or make uninterrupted duplicates of a 3D model.”
This could be quite important, because there are very few slicers that can handle belt 3D printers, and only one that I know about: Blackbelt’s modified Cura system. I’ve had troubles with this system, so another option is certainly welcome.
Meanwhile, if you want to try out textured 3D prints, by all means get a copy of ideaMaker 4.1.0.