First Look: Netfabb Professional 6 – early version of 3MF file format already in place

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Because a man in a tie means business – Netfabb Professional 6 has new features for making mass production less of a nightmare

The latest release of Netfabb’s professional 3D printing software tool for the likes of service bureaux and in-house departments has been revised and extended, aiming to simplify frequent tasks and shorten production cycles.

Netfabb has recently boosted its standing in the professional market by becoming one of the founding members of the 3MF Consortium, alongside big players such as Microsoft, HP, Autodesk and Dassault Systèmes.

The German company suggests that it has been heavily involved in developing the new 3MF file format for industrial 3D print data, and in version 6 has implemented a future-proof format that will work with it.
A 2D Nesting Module is another new addition, which automatically arranges a maximum number of printable parts on the build platform. Packing parts onto the print bed helps lower production costs, and as Netfabb CEO Alexander Oster explains: “Serious volume manufacturing without a reliable packing feature is just unthinkable.”

Mass production is at the heart of the new release’s features. Netfabb Professional now provides Automatic Mass Labeling, which adds unique identification codes to identical parts, a great tool for quality assurance in mass production.

Applying one single label manually takes time, whereas Netfabb’s ability to automate the task can do the faster regardless of the lot size – with Netfabb claiming its software was used to place 32,900 components for manufacture into one single additive manufacturing machine.

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Practical new features also exist, most coming from the experience of parent company FIT AG, a Germany-based specialist for Additive Design and Manufacturing.

Probably most in demand for professional use is the Support Structures add-on for complex DLP and stereolithography projects.

Elsewhere in the updates selected triangles can be hidden to open the view to underlying elements; Texture Imposing allows sophisticated reliefs on part surfaces, and customisable pdf reports can be adjusted to individual needs for tailored quoting and quality assurance.

More design focussed add-ons are a new venture, with Netfabb 3S – standing for Selective Space Structures – a separate add-on for designing bionic structures. Little more about this has been mentioned at present, although it will be interesting to see how this compares with other similar products.