The problem: When engineers make a design, the next step is to build a prototype. In principle, 3D printing should make this process a whole lot easier. But the learning curve for mastering design software and sending the correct file format to printers can be daunting.The answer: The group of German researchers behind 3yourmind have come up with a way of speeding things up. The company provides a free plug-in for computer-aided design software, such as SketchUp, 3DS Max, Rhinoceros, Inventor and Blender, that takes the designer through the fastidious printing process quicker.
The service acts likes a bridge: after making a digital model, designers can click on www.3d-button.com, choose from an array of materials, and receive an instant quote from popular 3D printing services.
The 3D-button interface
3D printing services expect to receive a model file which fits certain parameters. Often, they do not: there are a lot of files out there with errors, or that have been designed with little respect for the capabilities of 3D printers.
All this means engineers could lose hours on finicky details, so the 3yourmind team has developed an additional programme that corrects file dimensions.
The Company: 3yourmind got off the ground in 2014 with €262,000 in grant and prize money and €200,000 in private cash. Founder and chief technology officer Tobias Wunner has collected software development experience in various fields such as automotive (Harman Becker), mobile (NOKIA), databases (IBM) and medical (University Hospital of Ulm).